What Does Spam Stand For?

What is spam? What is its history? Just what does spam stand for?

Well, here we'll be looking at some of the quirky aspects of spam -- some facts you're probably not aware of and which may make you chuckle!

Here's what we'll be taking a look at...

  1. An Introduction To Spam
  2. Spam Threats And Affects
  3. The Distinction Between "Spam" And "SPAM"
  4. How Spam Started
  5. The SPAM Link To Unsolicited Email
  6. Sources of Spam By Country
  7. Does Spam Pay?
  8. Supporting Articles

1. What Does Spam Stand For?...
An Introduction To Spam

What does spam stand for? Well, one aspect to look at is its definition. In Dictionary.com, it's defined as, "Unsolicited e-mail, often of a commercial nature, sent indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups; junk e-mail."

Email is by far the most widely used application on the Internet and unfortunately, spam is a common and often frustrating side effect of having an email account.

Spam is often thought of as word messages, but image spam -- pictures portraying pornography or pharmaceuticals in the message -- is increasing as spammers realise that older spam filters don't detect the images.

Spammers peddle sexual aids, diet pills, get-rich-quick schemes and anything else that can make them money, by sending billions of unwanted e-mails to unwilling recipients. Hence, why a spam blocker utility is a must for anyone who uses email.


2. What Does Spam Stand For?...
Spam Threats And Affects

However, spam is not just an intrusion into our privacy. Spam’s biggest threat lies in its cheap, fast and anonymous access for scammers, phishers and others who spread malware, such as viruses, worms and spyware.

They are all, in some way, either infiltrating our computers to steal any information of value, or tricking us with phishing and pharming techniques into giving it to them. The result? Financial fraud, identity theft, etc.

Although there are no complete figures about the volume of spam, observers claim it has increased from about 10 percent of all email in 2001 to nearer 70 percent of all email traffic today... yet, it is estimated that 90 percent of it can be traced to a hard-core group of around 200 spam outfits.

This huge volume of data clogs the available bandwidth on which the Internet runs, making everything else run much slower. We would all enjoy the benefits of faster Internet speeds if spam was eradicated.

It is also estimated that the average user receives around 2000 spam emails a year. Imagine the time lost in downloading, viewing and sorting it from legitimate mail. Even if we spend only five or six minutes a day sorting and deleting spam, it is causing us to waste nearly a working week each year!


3. What Does Spam Stand For?...
The Distinction Between "Spam" And "SPAM"

Spam, however, is not to be confused with SPAM, the spiced ham produced by Hormel Foods Corporation.

Hormel does not object to the use of the word "spam", but the company does insist that it is spelt in lower case to distinguish it from Hormel's trademark, SPAM, spelt with capital letters. In fact, the company has filed lawsuits against companies attempting to trademark phrases containing "SPAM".

So in answer to the question, "What does SPAM stand for?", Wikipedia states, "The name SPAM was chosen in the 1930s when the product, whose original name -- "Hormel Spiced Ham" -- was far less memorable, began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name SPAM was "Shoulder of Pork And haM".

According to writer Marguerite Patten in "SPAM – The Cookbook", the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, brother of the Hormel vice president and an actor."


4. What Does Spam Stand For?...
How Spam Started

The US law firm, Canter and Siegel, is credited with the first Internet spam in 1994. In reality, it wasn't the first, but it was the first large, commercial spam, against which we now routinely guard privacy.

The company advertised their Green Card Immigration Lottery on Usenet, the world's largest online conferencing system. They posted their ad to every single newsgroup on Usenet... much to the general horror at this misuse of scarce Internet resources. As a result, Canter and Siegel were flooded with complaints.

As this type of advertising increased on Usenet, the name "spam" was used to describe it and the word caught on.

Spam very soon graduated from newsgroups to email. Soon, mass e-mailing software,which had been developed for mailing lists, was adopted to send spam around theInternet. It was just a few short steps to turn spam from the basic, unasked-for advertising material, to the risk today.


5. What Does Spam Stand For?...
The SPAM Link To Unsolicited Email

SPAM was one of the few meat products excluded from food rationing in Britain during and after World War II. As a result, SPAM was on every household menu.

It was Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television series, that used this situation for their SPAM sketch. In it, a restaurant serves every item on the menu with SPAM. A waitress describes each menu item containing SPAM, accompanied by a group of Vikings singing a song about SPAM!

What does spam stand for? Well, it is generally agreed that this sketch inspired the use of the word "spam" as an analogy for unsolicited e-mail, because it is something incessantly and annoyingly repetitive.


6. What Does Spam Stand For?...
Sources of Spam By Country

According to Sophos Plc, a security solutions company, although it has declined over the last couple of years, most of spam email still originates in the US, with about 50 percent of all spam. One reason why the flow of spam through the U.S. has decreased is the Federal CAN-SPAM Act, which has been in effect since 2003 to help curb unsolicited commercial e-mail.

The other top spamming nations are...

  1. China and Hong Kong, which total about 20 percent of all spam
  2. South Korea, France and Spain, ranging from 5 percent to 7.5 percent
  3. Canada, with about 3.5 percent
  4. Japan is in last place, accounting for 1.6 percent
Russia is conspicuously absent from the top spamming nations, although Russian spammers may be the source of much of the world's spam-related traffic.

Spammers in Russia presently control networks of hijacked zombie PCs, which silently send out torrents of e-mail without owners knowing about it.

The country also does a brisk business in selling black market e-mail address lists for as little as $50 per 1 million addresses.


7. What Does Spam Stand For?...
Does Spam Pay?

When most of us do our best to prevent spam getting into our inbox, how can spammers make money?

Well, in fact, approximately 0.05 percent of us actually open and read spam and about 0.01 percent of us purchase through a link in spam email.

As spammers send out of spam emails and can receive about $0.01 for each spam ad viewed, for every million emails sent, they can expect a $50 return. Not much, but when they're sending out, say, twenty runs a month, that's $1000... and that's before the income resulting from people who buy the service or product advertised.


8. What Does Spam Stand For?...
Supporting Articles

  1. The Best Spam Slammers To Protect You From Spam Dangers
  2. Spam Slammers... These Are The Dangers When Spam Gets Through
  3. The Four Types Of Spam Slammers
  4. Practical Steps To Improve the Effectiveness Of Your Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker
  5. Software Steps To Improve the Effectiveness Of Your Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker
  6. How To Spam Spammers
  7. Spam Spammers With MailWasher Pro
  8. Reduce The Load Of Your Spam Slammers By Keeping Off Spam Lists
  9. Phishing And How To Block It
  10. Botnets And Your Zombie PC Fix
  11. What Does Spam Stand For?
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