Don’t opt-out of spam?


Spamfilter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Yesterday, Laura Atkins wrote a blog post which suggests that unsubscribing from spam doesn’t result in receiving more spam. I know that this is a project that she’s been working on for at least a month, and I don’t have any reason to doubt her results. [1]

Interestingly, this morning there was a new post by Brian Krebs which suggests that spammers do, in fact, trade opt-out information. He includes an image file from a spammer forum:

I think that it’s interesting that on offer here are opt-outs and unsubscribers.

The purpose of offering this information isn’t likely to build up lists of “HOT, ACTIVE SUBSCRIBERS” but to help spammers build lists of people who are complaining (or are likely to complain) about email. According to Brian, the last entry there mentions “abusers” which is spammer-speak for what used to be called a “screamers list”. The irony runs thick with network abusers labeling the people who complain as abusers.

I don’t think that Brian and Laura would disagree with each other concerning the implications of either her experiment or his experiences in the spammer fora. And that I have to add is that it will only take one mistake by a spammer for those suppression lists to start getting more mail.

How do you feel about spammers trading your address, even if it is just for the purpose of suppression? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Additionally, she links to "Dear Anti-Spammer: Way to Make My Point" (Ken Magill, 2013), "Rethinking the ‘Never Unsubscribe’ Rule for Spam" (David Pogue, 2011), and "Spam unsubscribe links no longer considered harmful" (Michael Dayah, 2009), all of which show similar results. ^


  1. Brian Krebs (2013, November 19), Don’t Like Spam? Complain About It.. Retrieved from
  2. Ken Magill (2013, January 8), Dear Anti-Spammer: Way to Make My Point. Retrieved from
  3. Laura Atkins (2013, November 18), Don’t unsubscribe from spam!!. Retrieved from
  4. David Pogue (2011, September 1), Rethinking the ‘Never Unsubscribe’ Rule for Spam. Retrieved from
  5. Michael Dayah (2009, March 4), Spam unsubscribe links no longer considered harmful. Retrieved from