Spam has become a real pain in the butt. My august sister and fellow blogger has had a few comments on it lately, and it’s time for me to join in.
The whole email system was set up by a bunch of geeks who never stopped to ask, “how could this system be abused?” They needed a way to send messages between each other, and they made one. Simple as that. Why should they have the system verify the origin of the sender? Why would Dr. Schmidt send a message and say it was from Dr. Li?
Well, the Internet grew up, and before long just everybody was using it, but the standards upon which the system was built were not modified to protect the system’s users from abuse. Thus was born spam.
We all get spam. It’s a part of life. There are sophisticated programs designed to detect and stop spam, but the spammers have sophisticated programs to get around those programs. For a while I was actively telling spammers to take me off their lists, listing the laws I would throw at them if they continued, and while this took more time than deleting the messages would have, I had the satisfaction of getting far less spam than any of my coworkers.
These days, occasioinal spam slips through into my mailbox, but not much. I hardly feel the billions of dollars the big providers say they lose on spam each year.
But now, this.
There are spammers using my business domain, jerssoftwarehut.com/, in the sender and reply-to fields on their spam. That means I get hundreds, if not thousands, of returned messages every day that were sent back as undeliverable. My mailbox is always full, which means people trying to reach me for legitimate business reasons, like to send me a damaged file so I can find bugs in Jer’s Novel Writer, cannot. The message is returned with a “mailbox full” message.
What impression does that give prospective clients? That of a flake who doesn’t even read his email. It gives the impression of a company that is not currently doing business.
Then there are the thousands, perhaps millions of people receiving spam with my domain on it. It is quite possible that my domain could be blacklisted on mail servers. The spammers would stop using me, but I wouldn’t be able to send emails to some of my clients, either.
The system is broken, and the only real solution is to fundamentally change the email protocol. The change is long overdue.