Tiny fraction complying with spam law, study finds

A new study bolsters claims that the Can Spam Act is having little effect on senders of unwanted mass e-mail messages.

7 steps for a low spam profile

Following are seven rules that Montreal-based Vircom Inc. recommends that businesses make sure their e-mail system users follow.

1. Never respond to spam.  Responding signifies that the e-mail address is legitimate.

2. Never opt-out of spam. Opting out allows the spammer to dictate the method by which they wish the recipient to opt out. It also exposes the recipient to potentially offensive material and validates the e-mail address.

3. Never click on a link in a spam message. Links in a spam message will expose the recipient to all types of possible damaging materials such as malware or viruses. In addition, the material of spam can be graphic and offensive, exposing a business to possible legal liabilities with employees.

4. Use a variety of e-mail addresses. Different e-mail addresses should be used for business purposes, others for subscriptions like newsletters, forums and user groups.

5. Be prudent when giving out e-mail addresses. Just like any other confidential information, an e-mail address should only be distributed to trusted recipients.

6. Never buy any product from a spammer. If spammers can be robbed of their livelihood, they will simply stop spamming.

7. Always use a spam filter. A multi-layered spam filter works best. 

A new study bolsters claims that the Can Spam Act is having little effect on senders of unwanted mass e-mail messages.

In research covering the period since the federal law was enacted in January, Montreal-based Vircom Inc., a maker of e-mail gateway software, said that less than one spam message in 7,500 is in compliance.

"It is apparent from these results that spammers are not worried about any potential legal action," said Marc Chouinard, head of Vircom's Spam Buster Team.

Vircom looked at nearly 550,000 e-mails over the past six months. Among its findings:

  • .01 of the e-mails fully complied with the law.
  • .02% gave a physical postal address in the body of the message.
  • 7% had an active reply address.
  • 31% had a legitimate subject header.
  • 40% gave recipients opt-out instructions, but only 12% actually honored such requests.

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