Is this Spam from Legitimate Company or “Spammer”?

By Shiloh Pettyjohn in Etiquette, Questions Answered on

Here is the tricky part: How do you know if someone who has spammed you has your email legitimately or from some less scrupulous means?

Well, the best way to determine if an unsubscribe will work is to determine the sender.

For example, some reputable online catalogs, merchandisers, retailers, etc., will send you spam. These are entities you know. These would be safe to unsubscribe to.

However, if you receive something telling you how they can enlarge something above your belly button or below your waistline or perhaps how they can get you prescription drugs for over 70% off, chances are not so safe to unsubscribe to these.

What is the difference and why?

Well, the reputable guys, people whose name you are familiar with, they are doing legal business and chances are at some point you checked a boxed on their website or in a store and asked them to send you offers. That’s likely how they got your email. But they are not in the business of antagonizing people, they just want your business and if getting emails from them irritates you why they are more than happy to stop.

Now the other guys, we’ll call these guys the spormers (spam porn) they are grateful to receive a message back from you asking to be “removed” because guess what? They can add your email to the coveted “verified address list” and sell that to other spormers stating that they have confirmed response from your email and therefore you are a more coveted email procurement.

Make sense?

So the rule of thumb is say no to the spormers by deleting them without opening, getting a proper spam filter that allows you to blacklist a specific address and generally staying off sites that could lead your email
address into a dark alley, so to speak. And for those annoying, yet innocuous emails from your local friendly supermarket, catalog, etc., kindly use their unsubscribe link usually located in the lower portion of the email or just reply with “remove” in your subject line.