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E-mail and Behavioral Changes by Fernando Lagrana

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5 Defining Spam

5.1. What is spam?

In many peoples’ minds, as well as for the editors of Larousse, spam is “an unsolicited e-mail sent to many inboxes or forums, for publicity or advertising purposes”.

Although it is accurate, this definition is, in the context of this work as well as in millions of practical examples, quite incomplete. In effect, it defines the most common type of spam – commercial spam, while leaving forms that are sometimes harder to control, and consequently more harmful, to one side.

This chapter aims to put forward a definition and classification of the different forms of spam, as well as to evaluate the factors that alter our perception of e-mail so that a single message can be considered positive at a given moment and negative at another.

5.2. Preface: the influence of role on users’ perceptions of messages

Practice shows that spam can vary in its form, nature and potential impact. Above, we have also mentioned the reasons that explain why and how the use of e-mail could lead to new behaviors, which result in the creation of spam or unsolicited e-mails. Practice also shows that it is extremely difficult to regulate or avoid such behaviors, and in that sense, recent attempts at international regulation have failed in their efforts to reduce the sending of spam, this is due in particular, to the lack of agreement on the subject of governing and regulating the Internet. Consequently, it seems more efficient to tackle the problem of spam from the point ...

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