Are You A Victim of UBE? – Unsolicited Bulk Email

domain millUnsolicited Bulk Emails or UBE, more commonly known as SPAM, is on the rise. Not only do these unwanted emails continue to clog our inboxes and junk mail folders but they are becoming harder to eliminate. This article will examine where many of these emails come from and how you can reduce them by offering, what I hope you will consider, some handy tips.

The daily barrage of spam messages in our inboxes and junk mail folders consumes countless hours to sort through and delete. Companies now spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on software in an effort to filter spam from their employee company e-mail accounts to prevent them from clogging their servers, wasting employee time and to prevent attacks by all sorts of malware.

The continuing rise of e-mail marketing in our growing market society has come about because it is one of the most cost-effective advertising tools and, more importantly, its use makes it easier to track conversions – tying the ad to customer purchases or donations. This was hugely effective in this last election cycle.  According to Wikipedia it is estimated that in the U.S. alone over $1.5 billion was spent on e-mail marketing in 2011 and is expected to grow to over $2.4 billion by 2016.

But where, specifically, do all these bulk emails come from?

Three sources account for most of the junk e-mail we receive: 1) emails sent by well-meaning family and friends, 2) notices from organizations to which you belong, have done business with or have subscribed to, and 3) messages sent by bulk e-mail marketing companies. See related blog post What Happened To Our Privacy.

Many organizations that you may belong to or companies you do business with are now taking advantage of cost-effective e-mail marketing services. While many may do their own in-house email marketing others turn to email marketing companies like MailChimp, iContact, and Constant Contact. These companies send out informative messages to their members using a vetted membership or subscription email list provided by the client organization. These timely messages are typically composed by the organization which pays a monthly fee based on the number of e-mail addresses. Part of their service includes the handling of unsubscribe requests as required by the FTC CAN-SPAM act. More on this later.

E-mails sent by responsible email marketing service companies will generally include their name and a link to their website in the footer of a message. Many will also include a statement explaining why you are receiving the message.

Less reputable are those e-mails that come from what I call “domain mills.” A domain mill is a company that sells domain names – the part of the address after the @ symbol –  to a client for the purpose of sending out frequent blasts of e-mails from questionable sources like Asian Dating, Cash Advance and JustMyHookups to mention a few. Some of these even appear to be from legitimate companies.

The way this works is that a domain mill company will spawn numerous domains which I will call “a slave domain.” The domain mill will then send out emails from their list of addresses based on how many the slave domain client is willing to buy, typically as much as $.50 per address. The slave domain client will then be paid a click-through fee for that ad and possibly commissions on any sales. Email addresses from these slave domains will typically have a random sequence of letters and numbers for the name and some nonsensical domain name, for example: or This is a tactic used by spammers to essentially make the blocking features in your e-mail service ineffective.

Tip: Look at the e-mail address in the FROM field of the email message. If it has some random characters for the name and nonsensical domain name you can be pretty sure that it is spam.

Something else you can do is to enter the domain name of the email into your browser address bar. If you try this with enough of these you will find that there are collections of these addresses that all reference a common home page like many people living at the same physical address. In other words, they have no unique business home page of their own and some you will find have no home page at all.

As further verification you can enter the domain name into a query of the Whois database, for example: This is a database of the registration information for all domain names.

What you will find for these slave domains is that many of them are owned by a domain mill company. But beware, some domain mill companies further hide their identity by opting to have their registration information hidden. These folks clearly do not want to be contacted about their activity.

A recent search found 27 domain names all owned by a single domain mill company. This company owns 277 domains and another company I found owns an astounding 2,857 domain names.

Several domain mill companies were contacted for information via e-mail for this article but did not reply.

So how does your e-mail address get on these lists?

As already mentioned, if you are a member of an organization then you will probably have already given them your email address. Companies and non-profit organizations are getting very adept at strategies to get you to enter your email address to receive something for free, to sign-up for a newsletter or to register for an event, just to mention a few. Then there are those products that request you to register and downloadable software you get in response to providing your email address. And let’s not forget any affiliates associated with those products and services.

Generally speaking, if you supply your e-mail address on a website then you have agreed to receive emails from the organization unless there is an opt-out check box of some sort that you can select.

Tip: Affiliate relationships are easy to do on the web and are becoming more pervasive. Be sure to check for any options that will allow you to opt-out of any ads from affiliates if you want to reduce spam.

Another way your email address gets on spammer lists is through the harvesting of e-mail addresses from websites like Facebook, Craigslist and even from Google search results. This easy process will net spammers using free harvesting software thousands of addresses. Using addresses obtained in this manner is illegal and considered to be unethical. However, the small percentages who do reply combined with the low probability of prosecution results in enough business to make this practice worthwhile.

Finally, we can’t leave our discussion of UBE without saying something about the process of unsubscribing and the role of the CAN-SPAM act. Are companies complying with the requirements of the act and does unsubscribing really work?

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM) has seven main requirements for domestic business emailers that the FTC is charged with enforcing. Many of these, however, are routinely violated by spammers.

The one provision of the CAN-SPAM act that most people are familiar with deals with the process of unsubscribing from unwanted marketing e-mails. Briefly, this section says that a visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism be present in all marketing e-mails, consumer opt-out requests are to be honored within 10 days, and opt-out lists also known as suppression lists are only to be used for compliance purposes.

The unsubscribe process usually involves clicking on an “unsubscribe” link in the e-mail message.  While unsubscribing using these links is supposed to only require a simple single click, most seldom are that simple. Many schemes are employed to make it difficult for the email recipient to unsubscribe. Among these are requirements for you to enter your email address even though the sender already knows your address, or a message instructing you to send an e-mail to request removal from their list.

Some unsubscribe links send your request to a service like No, this is not the source of criminals (unsubs) as seen on the TV program “Criminal Minds” but a company that provides compliance and suppression file management services. These businesses receive your unsubscribe requests and remove your email address from their list. This updated list, hopefully without your email address, is then sent to their client for use in their email marketing effort.  This, presumably, is the reason for the FTC 10 day compliance time.

If you are interested in this or any of my articles for your print publication please send me a comment.

45 responses to “Are You A Victim of UBE? – Unsolicited Bulk Email

  1. Saved the blog as a favorite, I really like your blog and articles!


  2. best Woocommerce theme

    I think this is among the most important info for me. And i’m glad reading your article.
    But wanna remark on some general things, The site
    style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job,


  3. Hey very cool website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .
    . I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?
    I am satisfied to search out a lot of useful information here within
    the put up, we’d like work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .


  4. If some one wants expert view on the topic of blogging then i suggest him/her
    to go to see this website, Keep up the nice work.


  5. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days.


  6. Keep this going please, great job!


  7. That is really interesting, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to in the hunt for more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks


  8. Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved it for later!


  9. Pingback: Work At Home Online Shopping Scam – A Personal Journey « The Occasional Muse

  10. There is certainly a great deal to know about this topic. I really like all of the points you made.


  11. I simply want to mention I am just all new to weblog and really enjoyed your website. Likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You certainly have impressive articles and reviews. Thank you for sharing your web page.


  12. Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for
    my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!


    • Try to Google captcha. You will find a number of results including code you can use on your website. Not sure there is something available foe use in WordPress.


  13. I was more than happy to find this web site.
    I need to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!
    ! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you saved as a
    favorite to check out new information on your blog.


  14. Heya superb website! Does running a blog such as this require a lot of work?

    I’ve absolutely no understanding of programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, if you have any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic however I just had to ask. Appreciate it!


    • Thanks for the comment. I blog occasionally, much less than recommended to get a large following. Most of the work on some posts involves lots of research other posts just seem to come together quickly. I currently have about 6 posts going in draft form. I try to approach the writing from a journalistic perspective and strive for the right words. So editing and wordsmithing can take several hours.

      You don’t have to be a programmer these days to be a blogger. As you can see I use which is one of many free blogging platforms but by all accounts the best. Good Luck.


  15. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession
    capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast.


  16. It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.


  17. Excellent web site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it
    to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And
    certainly, thanks for your effort!


  18. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back in the future.
    I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice evening!


  19. I wanted to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely enjoyed
    every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new things you


  20. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I’m hoping to provide one thing again and help others such as you helped me.


  21. Nell Valladares

    You must participate in a contest for top-of-the-line blogs on the web. I’ll advocate this website!


  22. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and
    look forward to in quest of more of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks


  23. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with valuable information to work on.
    You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you.


  24. Keep this going please, great job!


  25. magnificent points altogether, you simply received a logo new reader.
    What would you recommend about your put up that you simply made a few days in the past?
    Any positive?


  26. Keep on writing, great job!


  27. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted
    to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss
    feed and I hope you write again soon!


  28. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely
    long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for rookie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.


    • Sorry about your first comment. As for blogging recommendations I’m at a loss. All I do is write a blog I think will be interesting to the reader and/or to encourage people to action on some issue with their elected representatives. It seems that part of blogging is about getting it found and read. I still don’t know how to go about getting readership. I saw a blogger just today who just started in Jan. and has over 7,000 followers and almost 90,000 views. To me this is amazing. I should be so lucky.


  29. This is the second time I’ve been to your site. Thanks for providing more details.


  30. Pingback: What Happened To Our Privacy? « The Occasional Muse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s