When we think of spam our thought automatically turns to the pile of junk email that arrives in our inboxes every day. But spam email is only one form of online spam. There are others.
When I first started using the internet, newsgroups were a common feature of the cyberscape. A newsgroup is basically a discussion group, segmented by topics that any interested party could post on. Some newsgroups are purely online and require a newsreader, some became basically a newsletter list that anyone could send mail to and it would be forwarded on to the entire group. Newsgroups are all but dead now. In researching this article I visited a couple I used to subscribe to that had over 100 posts per day, one had two posts(both spam) and one, which had obviously been better moderated, had about 20 posts, though all relevant.
An early form of advertising online was banner adds, with banner exchanges and the like being very popular during the mid to late 90's. Advertisers still try new versions of the old tricks. Animated GIF files and flash files are a particularly annoying version of this. When something changes on the screen it draws our eye to it, which is what the advertisers are counting on. unfortunately it also draws our eye away from wherever we were, making it very hard to keep focus on reading - for instance, a great article on different forms of spam.
Online messengers are an enhanced version of email that allows instantaneous conversations. Unfortunately it also allows instantaneous spam. Messenger spam is dangerous in two ways. Firstly programs like MSN messenger allows spammers to see 'live' email addresses to add to their spam lists. Secondly it allows real time spam through both one on one chat. Most messengers have effectively combatted this by requiring authorisation between two parties prior to chatting, but even this authenticates an email address for a spammer to mail out to.
Chatrooms used to be great. You could log in and chat about alien conspiracies, jump into a tech forum and get almost instant answers to a question you had or just let off some steam in a flame chatroom. Nowadays spammer robots make this nearly impossible. The robots login to a chatroom - spread their add and logout to head for the next room before you can even have time to ban them.
It's easy to forget that spam isn't an e-mail only problem. But one positive result of this is that because the war against spam is fought on more than one front, we can pull ideas from multiple areas to stay ahead.
With an estimated 70-90 billion spam messages sent every day, the problem is not going away. Don't wait for someone to solve the problem for you, visit The Stop Spam Now Site and review the very best methods of stopping spam.