So I’m sure at some stage in our internet lives we have all come across spam (and no I don’t mean the tin of pre-cooked meat). Whether it was through excessive emails, random friend requests, websites links or social media blasts, we are all well aware of the level of frustration it causes seeing an email being sent to us trying to sell yet another ‘authentic’ Gucci handbag.
Justin Rao and David Reiley define spam as an
“unsolicited commercial email and related undesirable online communication”
Lucky for us, internet providers such as Google and Yahoo! Are constantly updating their “anti-spam filtering techniques” (Rao & Reiley, 2012) to shut down and eliminate providers of spam to ensure that consumers internet experience is kept spam free. Most commonly, service providers will shut down any source that sends a large quantity of messages, repeatedly, to a large audience.
Although this technique sounds great to us as a consumer – what about the people who are actually sending the content?
It can be concluded that the majority of sites/emails that get tagged and shut down as ‘spammers’ are not legitimate businesses or individuals, however sometimes this isn’t the case.
A research study undertaken by Cheong, Aleti and Turner, was deemed as spam due to the fact that they were trying to distribute surveys via Twitter in bulk, in order to get ‘big data’ to analyse. Twitter shut down the account that was being used to distribute the surveys multiple times which impacted the study and the results. Despite efforts in trying to deem their account as legitimate – twitter continually shut it down due to the strong filters and policies they have against spam like behaviour.
This is one flaw in the anti-spam filters that internet providers implement. Although majority of the time these anti-spam filters save peoples sanity – they can also cause some major problems in situations similar to the one above.
What do you think? Do you think there should be a way for legitimate businesses and individuals to prove themselves as ‘anti-spammers’? Or do you think this will cause more problems?
Cheong, M., Aleti, T., & Turner, W. (2016). Twitter, Alcohol and Wasted War Stories: Potted Lessons in Social Media–Based Methodologies. SAGE Research Methods Cases. London, United Kingdom: SAGE Publications, Ltd
Eric Peters Auto. (2014). Spam [image]. Retrieved from http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/09/25/spam/
Glasbergen Cartoon Services. (n.d). Computers [image]. Retrieved from http://www.glasbergen.com/?count=13&s=computer
Rao, J., & Reiley, D. (2012). The economics of spam. Journal of economic perspectives, 26 (3), 87-110.