The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Mark Kawabe - Friday, May 15, 2015

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) was implemented on July 1, 2014. CASL is designed to reduce spam messages received by Canadians. It has been effective - in a surprising way.

Cloudmark is a San Franciso-based email security company. They released a Security Threat Report for the first quarter of 2015 and their numbers demonstrate that CASL's been effective. Canadian spam that was directed toward American recipients dropped by 37 percent post-CASL. Email to Canadians dropped by 29 percent overall. What was surprising though was that the change in the amount of spam email received by Canadians was not significant.

One explanation is that most spam that originates in Canada is sent to American recipients while most spam Canadians receive originates in the United States. While email Canadians receive has dropped by 29 percent, that seems to be due to a decline in legitimate email messages being sent. As an overall percentage, spam has increased for Canadians from 16.5 to 16.6 percent.

As expected, spammers from outside Canada are ignoring CASL. However, email senders who are within CASL's jurisdiction are paying attention. The first major fine against a Canadian company was against Compu-Finder, a Quebec company that received a $1.1 million penalty in March of 2015 for four violations of the act. The second fine was levied against the company that runs the Plenty Of Fish dating site. Their penalty was $48,000, largely surmised to be because they took immediate action to comply with CASL while Compu-Finder did not.

So for Canadians, we're still getting spammed under CASL. That's no surprise. At The Web For Business.com, we are constantly looking at ways to reduce the spam that reaches our servers. Our spam filtering services are updated daily with new filters but stuff still makes it though. Ensuring your own email software's spam filtering is turned on is still a good idea to reduce spam even further.

Hopefully the war on spam will eventually be won. In the meantime, please be vigilant. Here are a few tips on how to avoid getting "phished".

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links in email messages.
  • It's generally safe to ignore email messages purportedly sent by your bank, PayPal or Apple.
  • Resist opening attachments you weren't expecting unless you know and trust the source - and even then, it's safer to ask.
  • Watch our video on how to avoid phishing scams

As always, if you have any questions on spam or suspicious emails, please contact me and I can help you spot the frauds that arrive in your inbox.

When Will the Spammers Stop?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I know I shouldn't, but I hope for a day when reputable businesses don't spam prospective customers. Now that Bill C-28 is a law, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the shaft. It seems though that most businesses are still in the dark.

Today I'll pick on the Buffalo Sabres who on Feb. 8 sent me an "insider" email promoting their game against the Thrashers on Feb. 23. The email address they used was only ever used once for one purpose - to register a domain for a client. It's never been used otherwise, so how did it wind up on a mailing list for the Buffalo Sabres?

Simple: the Sabres organization probably bought a list with email addresses and other contact information "scraped" from online domain registry databases. Oh sure, they were probably told that everyone on the list had "opted in", but the reality is there are precious few lists like that and the list owners, if they're smart, wouldn't dream of corrupting their brand by sharing their carefully-built list.

So, what can you do about spam now that there's a law about it? Until enforcement comes into effect in the next 6~8 months, you can expect things will stay much the same. However, you CAN help educate other business owners about the new laws so they will reconsider their actions. And of course, don't buy anything that is promoted through spam. If there's no money to be made doing it, eventually people will stop using it. Then again, with 200 BILLION spam messages being sent per day (as of August 2010), someone's making money, somewhere.

Please don't let it be you.