Posted On:email spam Archives - Emailexplained.com
Email harvesting is the process by which lists of email addresses are acquired, usually without the consent of the users. The owners of the email addresses are then spammed with unsolicited business offers, ads, or invitations to use online adult services and materials. In some cases, cybercriminals might use the addresses for phishing.
Methods of Email Harvesting
There are several methods through which email harvesting can be done and as the internet evolves, new ones are devised. The most common and effective method involves the use of harvest bots, which are scripts that crawl the web to scavenge for email addresses.
The most common places from which these addresses are obtained are online forums, business staff directories, and lists from professional societies.
Other methods of harvesting email addresses include the directory harvest attack, where harvesters use the dictionary method to guess possible user names at a given domain. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org will almost always exist. Sometimes, spammers can simply sell or swap email lists with each other if they operate in the same field. They can also get an address with a user’s consent by offering you a trial service once you subscribe with a valid email address.
Email marketing is a marketing strategy where a business sends emails to existing or potential clients. The emails are usually in form of ads, discount offers, or invitations for free service trials. It can be considered a digital version of direct mail marketing. Usually, the emails are sent in bulk to recipients on email lists obtained through email harvesting or voluntary subscriptions by interested prospects. It is fast, easy, and cost-efficient.
Email marketing is used to strengthen the loyalty of existing clients, acquire new ones, or regain old clients who have since left. The effectiveness of an email marketing campaign depends on how relevant the message is to the recipient. In light of this, businesses usually pitch the most likely prospects depending on buying trends, interests, and internet browsing activity. For example, a web designer who manages to harvest your email address from a domain name registrar may contact you with a web design offer. This is more targeted and, therefore, more likely to result in leads.
While legitimate email marketers exist, spammers abound as well. Email service providers have stringent measures which see even legitimate mail flagged as spam, and thus ignored by the recipient. This has made it all too difficult for ethical businesses to conduct successful email marketing campaigns.
A false positive is an instance where a spam filter mistakenly recognises an otherwise legitimate email as spam, sending it to the spam folder, or worse, sending it back to the sender as an email bounce.
Sometimes, spam filters fail to differentiate bulk unsolicited mail from legitimate B2B or B2C communication, even when the recipient made a prior subscription. This creates a problem for successful business communication as false-positives usually result in missed opportunities, missed appointments and lost prospects, which translate into lost financial gains for a business. The mark of a good spam filter, therefore, is not only how much spam it intercepts, but also how many false positives it bounces back. However, a flawless spam filter is simply not possible, and for this reason, some businesses choose to have all spam filter turned off.
At the very worst end of things is what is called a ‘critical false positive’. This is when normal human to human emails are marked as spam and bounced back even with prior communication.
’Spam’ is an e-mail sent to a large number of internet users without any request for the former by the latter. Hence a ‘spam’ is basically an unwanted, Junk mail. Electronic spamming uses electronic messaging systems for sending unsolicited bulk messages especially for advertising, indiscriminately.
Spam is unhealthy for the success of any organization. Working with permission and authorization is very necessary so as to avoid being permanently blacklisted. Spamming is followed up by various advertisers because it is economically viable and they have no operating costs beyond managing their mailing lists. It is difficult to hold the senders accountable for their massive mailings.
Because of the barrier to entry being very low, the number of spammers is large and the volume of unsolicited mail is becoming high. Spamming must be avoided and proper permission must be taken so that the advertisement is noticed carefully by the user and marketing be enhanced.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an e-mail validation system designed for preventing e-mail spam by detecting e-mail spoofing, a common vulnerability and threat by verifying the sender’s IP addresses. SPF allows the administrators to specify the hosts which are allowed to send mail from a given domain by creating a particular SPF record in the Domain Name System. Mail exchangers use the DNS for checking that whether the mail from a given record domain is being sent by a host sanctioned from that particular domain’s administrators.
When a domain publishes an SPF record, spammers are less likely to forge e-mails pretending to be from that domain and the reason for this being that the forged e-mails are more likely to be caught by the spam filters which continuously check the SPF record.
Hence, an SPF protected domain is much less attractive to the spammers. Because of SPF protected domain is less attractive as being a spoofed address, it is less likely to get blacklisted by the spam filters and so the e-mail being sent is more likely to get through.