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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Forwarded emails create SPAM

I know the people who think I would be interested in some email they've received aren't trying to cause problems when they forward it to me, but it turns out they are.

It's not so much in that they are forwarding, it's in the WAY they forward. This also includes any time an email is sent to everyone in an address book, even if it's not forwarded.

When you forward an email to a group of people and put the list of email addresses in the "TO:" section of the email, every one of the people on the list now has an entire listing of "live" email addresses. If one of the people on the list who received the email from you then forwards it to a group of people in their address book, suddenly a whole group of people--who you probably don't know--now has not only my email address and everyone else's on the list, but also YOURS.

With the speed of the Internet, my email address is now in countless boxes around the globe, and the odds of one of those boxes belonging to a spammer or someone who sells email addresses to spammers for cash are surprisingly good.

SO...

I don't want to stop you from forwarding me something you think I might find helpful. I'm not interested, however, in jokes, inspirations or petitions, and please don't put me on your list when you get an email saying, "Send this to 10 people...".

If you REALLY think there is something I should see, here's what I ask you to do:
  • If it's a Web site, please copy and paste the Web site address in an email. Please don't forward the address once it has come from somebody else.
  • If it's an email you've received, please copy and paste what it is you want me to see in a NEW email. Please don't forward the email as-is.
  • Please don't put me in your address book and use my address in a forward to the group of people in there with me. I don't mind being in your address book itself; of course it's easier when you have an email address handy rather than having to type it in or even remember it. I would just rather not have my email address included in a group of email addresses that is going to get forwarded, and forwarded, and forwarded...
  • Please don't include me in a bulk mailing to all your friends with everyone's address in the "TO:" section of the email, even if it's a brand new email that you started and isn't a forward.

Unfortunately, I don't have any kind of filter for my email that totally rejects anything that has been forwarded to me. I've blocked the word "Fwd" in both the body and subject of a message, but that hasn't worked. It only takes one person to get your address out there, and suddenly your BUSINESS email is inundated. That's what happened to mine.

I don't mind if you copy and paste this in an email, but please follow some Internet etiquette and don't send it to a group of people in your address book with everyone's email address listed in the "TO:" section.

And, please, stop forwarding me stuff.