Brian McWilliams, author of Spam Kings has published an article “Remove me” on salon.com on his recent under-cover job within the spammers community to check whether these people really take “Unsubscribe me” requests into account. He poses as an affiliate (someone who sends spam on behalf of some company and gets commissions for each sale) to a company selling fake Rolexes.
When I signed on to BlackMarketMoney.com for the first time, I saw a page where my sales stats would be displayed. A preferences section included a form where I could specify account numbers for my commission payments. There were also pages with suggested ad copy and graphics files, as well as an updated list of the various domains we affiliates were supposed to advertise in our spams.
But what really caught my eye was a note at the site that insisted all affiliate spams include an “unsubscribe link.” Two huge archives were also available for download, containing lists of “remove” addresses. The October list held around 202,000 e-mails, while the November list had over 282,000 addresses. Sales affiliates were instructed to scrub their mailing lists to remove these names.
Eventhough the affiliates are given all the information necessary to remove the addresses of people, reality turns out to work differently. I let you read the story – and his conversations with the people who unsubscribed – on the site, but his conclusion remains unchanged:
Do NOT use the “unsubscribe/remove” option in spam mails!