Oracle Tips by Burleson
Chapter 13 - Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam
Spam is in the Eye
of the Beholder
Spam, also called Un-requested Commercial
E-Mail (UCE), is usually defined as unwanted or unsolicited
messages, most likely advertisements. If an e-mail message is
received because a request has been made for more information
regarding a product or service, the message is not considered spam.
However, if a request has been made to be removed from the
advertiser’s e-mail list and the messages are still arriving, they
must be categorized as spam.
Although spam is universally despised, there is
no universally accepted definition for it. One person’s spam is
another person’s useful information. Due to this diversity in
personal tastes, filtering spam has become an extremely difficult
task. If a filter is too aggressive, it might prevent important
messages from getting through because some messages share spam-like
characteristics. If the filter is not aggressive enough, spam will
continue to arrive, though usually in reduced quantities.
“The "free" distribution of unwelcome or
misleading messages to thousands of people is an annoying and
sometimes destructive use of the Internet's unprecedented
--Bill Gates, 1998
Why Does Spam Exist?
technology to stop spam has existed for decades, but it is critical
for any anti-spam software to be able to recognize unsolicited spam
from a legitimate spam newsletter. For example, an expert
programmer or program analyst might have a database tips newsletter
that is distributed to 12,000 people every week, and this is quite
different from a generic “You’ve been approved for a new home
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