Generally speaking, spam is unsolicited, bulk e-mail. Similar to how your mailing address is used, an e-mail address gets on to one or more mailing lists which are then used repeatedly to send advertising. Some of the e-mails are legitimate sales offers, but a large portion seem to be of dubious value. It's this second type that often annoys people enough to form anti-spam groups and to ask governments to create anti-spam legislation.
Unlike junk mail which the senders must pay to have delivered, there is no charge for sending spam. Spam actually costs companies and end-users money in terms of time and potentially increased internet fees associated with the added bandwidth and hardware required to process all the spam.
Spam has become such a significant problem that a niche market has been created to develop anti-spam technologies. Take a look at Spam Fighting Tools for some tips on how to deal with spam.
- Junk E-Mail