I hate spam*

Whether I get an unsolicited credit card offer by mail or an email advertising a new herbal treatment for male "vigor", I find that it's a big waste of my time.  The only thing I respect about these unsolicited offers is that the tend to be self-conscious about what they are - for example, keep an eye on your next credit card offer.  You can usually detect it in the stack of mail because it's the only envelope with the audacity to have, in big block letters, "DO NOT DISCARD".  As if there was any surer way to guarantee that I rip it in half and toss it in the recycling bin or paper shredder.  I've also discovered from my own empirical evidence (read: ~75 emails per day) that spam email has a significantly higher occurrence of the '!' character in the subject than non-spam email.  In fact, I just logged in to one of my email services to find 4 of 4 spam messages with at least one '!' in the subject and 4 messages in my Inbox, none of which has an '!'.  What could be a stronger correlation than that?  [In case you are not familiar with my demeanor, that rhetorical question was meant to be taken as a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek statement.  I hope you enjoyed it.]

Thankfully, just today I discovered that a couple of the marketing organizations are beginning to get a bit wise to our complaints and taking responsibility for cleaning up our inboxes/mailboxes.  The 4 major credit reporting agencies have created a website where you can permanently opt out of unsolicited credit and insurance offers initiated via their mailing lists.  It's not perfect, but it's a start.  They also allow you to opt out for 5 years, instead of permanently, if you prefer.  Why would anyone possibly choose a limited time offer like that?  Oh, right, what was I thinking... in 5 years, I'm sure I'll want them to start harassing me again.

Another "fix" comes from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).  I imagine that they have seen the heavy assault of consumer complaints lately, which induced them to produce the DMA Consumer Assistance website, where you can find out how to opt out of (some) mailing, telemarketing, and email lists.  Of course, they can only protect you from the organizations that subscribe to their service.

Of course, you can also go straight to the FTC's Do Not Call registry and protect your phone from unwanted telemarketing calls for 5 years.

Go now and preserve your right to quiet enjoyment of your modes of communication!

* I'm also not a big fan of SPAM. Something about canned, processed meat just rubs me the wrong way.