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December 11th, 2004

The Opt-In Opt-Out

A few weeks ago I got a spam e-mail (ever heard of ’em?). This spam had the standard “click here to unsubscribe” link which lead to a web site where you asked to enter your e-mail address to get off of their list. Of course, we all know that you never do such a thing because all it does is verify that your address is valid.

So I decided to “unsubscribe” with a throwaway address at DodgeIt and see how long it took for my first spam to arrive. I opted out at 1:55pm on November 19th and received my first (and, thusfar, only) spam from “Asian Mag” on December 2 at 12:45pm. So, 13 days after supposedly unsubscribing at, the address was used for nefarious purposes.

I’m honestly a little surprised it didn’t happen faster and that the box hasn’t been deluged. But at least it proves that those “unsubscribe” boxes are really anything but, in case there was any doubt.

Posted in Technology

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday December 11, 2004 -- 7:24:45 pm
There *are* places where unsubscribing really does do that.

But if even 5% of the "unsubscribe" links are really "sign me up for p0rn spam" links, that's enough to poison most people's perception.

The most annoying one I have seen recently is, which claims to be a christian site. Do *not* try to unsubscribe from them. All it does is increase the frequency of mail from them. (hard for me to tell if it adds spam from other sites, as my account is hard hit)

FROM: ken
DATE: Saturday December 11, 2004 -- 7:49:55 pm
I have never tried to unsuscribe because i get so many spam things, but has anyone else noticed that there is less porn ads and more ads for medicine and stock tips? really weird.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Saturday December 11, 2004 -- 8:11:01 pm
Hey - no making issues with Crosswalk. Back in the day - I sold them all the hardware to run that site!

Actually - they were sold off to a Christian publishing company 2 years ago for almost nothing.

FROM: Kate
DATE: Sunday December 12, 2004 -- 10:16:15 pm
Hey!! That's a mean trick... why was I not smart enough to figure that out? LOL

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