Spam tops televangelists as most annoying thing ever

You receive a lot of spam, right? Apparently, so does everyone else.

In a recent report compiled by SoftScan, close to 90 percent of emails sent in July were spam. It should be noted that SoftScan is a company that offers anti-spam software, and that it also acknowledges that fewer actual emails were sent in July because of the holiday, according to vnunet.com.

But this also brings us to the definition as to what spam actually is. According to the Wikipedia, spamming "is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited, bulk messages." This, of course, means that advertisements sent after users signed up for specific services should not be counted in this total.

And guess what? Users flag email messages they subscribed for all of the time. In fact, a recent survey showed that almost 37 percent of consumers said they marked message spam even though they had signed up to receive offers. I'm guessing many people don't even know what they signed up for anyway, so that number should be a little higher than 37 percent.

So, while companies are working to battle spam, customers are subscribing to receive email newsletters and then flagging those as spam, which throws the computer logic and learning capabilities out the window. While a number of people still want the coupons from Target, others are marking them as spam on a weekly basis.

Here are some simple tips to remember, which will help thwart spam without causing many problems:

1. If you signed up for legitimate email, and you don't want it anymore, there should be a way to unsubscribe directly with the company.

2. If you didn't sign up for something, and you don't want it anymore, just delete it. If it becomes a huge problem (you receive a 100 messages a day claiming you have won a cruise or $20 gift certificate to Red Lobster), mark it as spam.

3. If you don't honestly remember if you signed up for something, follow rule No. 2.

4. If you still receive the exact same messages after you have flagged them as spam two or three times, just delete them. Obviously, it's not working. In fact, you might be propelling more spam.

If you have had a free email account for awhile, chances are that you're not easily going to get rid of all of your spam. Another way to get rid of spam is to start over. Obtain a new email address, tell your friends and watch out for what you sign up for. At least if you see a televangelist on TV, you can just change the channel.