What is Spamming Really?

spamHere’s an odd fact about spamming: most of us could be accused of engaging in spamming at one time or another even if we try to keep strictly to legitimate tactics for making money online and building backlinks. So let’s examine what spamming is really and when it might even be an acceptable thing to do.

Classic Spam

The very first case of mass spamming occurred when a pair of lawyers sent out a garish e-mail to 6,000 people on an early UseNet mailing list offering immigration services. The e-mail was quite successful for them in spite of the fact that they weren’t necessarily targeting the list to their specific demographic.

Other Spam

Since that time, spam has become the scourge of the Internet, with people adding it to virtually every kind of service imaginable where they might have even the slightest chance of grabbing some eyeballs or even a backlink.

Twitter, Facebook, SMS, forums, social bookmarking sites, blogs – they all suffer from heavy doses of spam. On my own blog, I’ve seen some pretty wild spam comments, like one on a post I wrote about financial scams where they guy wrote about wanting to know how to get rid of “man boobs” and had a link back to his site on the subject (no, I’m not kidding – I was laughing when I saw it).

Is Spam Ever Acceptable?

First of all, spam has a very wide range of types and definitions. For example, if you run an e-mail list, even though your list members have all presumably opted in to the list, they may well consider your e-mails spam because they really don’t want to hear from you. Most people sign up only because of the fact that they wanted whatever free gift you were offering.

However, since they accepted the free gift and you presumably give them the chance to remove themselves from the list whenever they happen to want to do so, this is a kind of “legal” form of spam.

Another form of spam which may be acceptable is the auto approve blogs which allow you to post whatever you want without the need to wait for your posts to be approved. Apparently, some blog owners have their sites set up that way because they want to encourage comments, even if the comments are not necessarily relevant.

One Form of Spam Which Is Legal But Not Useful

Let’s close this discussion with one more form of spam which is perfectly legal but not at all useful to use – that’s article spamming. It used to be you could build thousands of backlinks by using a spinning program to create unique content, never mind that the content was all but unreadable by humans. Today, you can still do it, but the spam you put out there will be useless since Google’s new algorithm doesn’t take junk links into account anymore.