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Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel, a US food company that has been gracious enough to not make a legal issue of its trademark being used for what is officially known as UCE or Unsolicited Commercial Email. (Thank you, Hormel.) UCE begins by 'harvesting' email addresses from web sites and selling millions of them for a fee to offer products or services. Based on my (Tcat) inbox, it appears that the number one purchaser of email addresses is the adult entertainment industry or phony products that offer to either improve my sex life or make me more attractive. I guess with an unusual first name it is difficult to determine if I am male or female, so I get offers to make something bigger for both genders. Home mortgage offers seem to be leading over credit card offers, followed by some phone services. UCE comes in two types of email. They are plain text or HTML based.
Plain text is the easiest type of spam to filter out. I use key words to filter them out to a folder to delete en mass. HTML is quite a bit sneakier. Because HTML email can tell a site I opened an email at a certain date and time, the sponsor knows they have a valid email address that they resell at a higher price. It doesn't matter that I deleted it, since the mere opening of the email even in preview mode triggers a validation that the email has been received and read, validating the address.
(Tip: Turn off that Outlook preview pane to keep Outlook from automatically opening these HTML-based Spam messages. Yes, its an inconvenience when viewing desired mail. And more Spam, caused by Outlook reporting a valid address back to a spammers web server is quite possibly more of an inconvenience.)
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