One way to deal with B2B spam


We’ve been talking a lot about B2B spam recently. I’ve posted repeatedly, Steve wrote a post about it yesterday. It’s in the forefront of our minds because we’re dealing with just so much of it. Multiple emails a day asking for “just 10 minutes of your time.” Of course, the 10 minutes isn’t really just 10 minutes. Sure, the call might be 10 minutes, but there’s overhead to that call that will probably eat 20 – 30 minutes of time. That’s at best.
Because they’re using providers who don’t notice or don’t care about the spam, there’s little to be done. No one is going to stop them from mailing me. They are required to comply with the law, but 99% of the mail doesn’t. Which gave me an idea.
I’ve started replying to every incident of “just 10 minutes of your time” with a pleasant email thanking them for their interest in our CAN SPAM verification program. I point out that I have noticed at least one violation and we’re happy to consult with them on how to fix it for a fee.
Wait? You mean they’re not interrupting my time simply to receive a sales pitch? Well. Gee. I’m just replying to them.
It seems petty, but we’re less than 2 weeks into 2017 and I already have over a dozen of these “one time” emails. If history tells me anything, these same people will follow up in a week, and then 2 weeks, and then a month. Meanwhile, new people are going to be sending me a request for 10 minutes of my time, and their followups and in a month I’ll be getting a dozen emails a week. In two months I’ll be getting 2 dozen. In 3 months it will be 4 dozen.
And, yeah, most of these messages do violate CAN SPAM. Most of them by not including an unsubscribe links, which makes getting the mail to stop a challenge. There’s no way to unsubscribe, so it’s either answer it or just keep getting contacted. I wrote last year about the woman who continued to email me for months. She even announced she was going to call 911 because clearly I was injured and unable to answer her mail.  Multiple times she promised to stop mailing me, but never did.
I do feel bad for many of these senders. They’ve been sold on a prospecting tool by vendors who fail to provide them with a minimal level of guidance. Even just mentioning that there are laws regulating email, and they should comply with them would be better than nothing.
In many ways I find this kind of spam more annoying than the viagra or the malware that ends up in my mailbox. Those can be selected and deleted pretty easily. These, however, have subject lines that look just like my legitimate business mail. I have to read them and figure stuff out. It’s a total PITA.
EDIT: And it’s not even effective according to some experts.

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  • This reminds me of what I do when telemarketers call. I drag em on and on and on and on until finally they just quit. At the end I tell them it’s been fun and don’t call me again unless they want to be strung along again.

  • That’s when you strip personally-identifying information out of the email headers, like your address, the message ID, and a few other things, and forward it along to the sending IP’s abuse desk — assuming, of course, they’re in the US. If they’re abroad you’re just pissing into the wind.
    If they choose to ignore it or not care, sometimes sending them a public message over social media helps. I did that with Hurricane Electric, one of the major backbone providers, because a datacenter hosting a spammer wasn’t responding or doing anything about someone who was violating multiple tenants of CAN-SPAM. That got the ball rolling and it seems to have done something.

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