Is spam going through a rebirth, led primarily by information you submit to business directories?
My inbox for the past year would answer yes based upon the number of email newsletters; semi-official looking emails received to my company’s “honeypot” email address.
What’s most troubling about this rebirth is that it seems to be appearing from quite a few semi-legitimate companies who will subscribe you to their “newsletters”.
Gone are the days of scraping your website for email addresses. Instead, my experience is that business directories are the source of most of the deliverable spam.
About three years ago I received an invitation to submit details to one of the leading business directories. This is the catalog that large companies supposedly use to review your information for credit-worthiness, however lately it seems to largely be a source of verified emails for spammers. The last time I submitted information I created a fictitious employee with a fictitious (but deliverable) email address.
Then the email spam, credit card offers, direct postal mail started rolling in. Based on this flood of unwanted junk, I’m reluctant to recommend that anyone ever submit contact information to a business directory unless absolutely required.
A day doesn’t go by where my faux employee doesn’t get a new email newsletter (or three). He also gets offers for credit cards, business brokerage, and insurance. Most of the email newsletters seem to be from legitimate companies (employment agencies seem especially aggressive). My legitimate emails get very little of this type.
Key takeaway: some companies are increasingly scouring legitimate business databases, likely against terms of service, and adding your email to their newsletters. Don’t make it easy for them by submitting information to directories unless you enjoy going through multiple step unsubscribe procedures which seems to be akin to an electronic game of whack-a-mole.