What is “White Spam?

Let’s say you’re investigating a subject that’s important to you (maybe something related to your business) and you’re lucky enough to discover a very informative website. The online pages are full of well-written, useful content that speaks directly to your interest. As you peruse the site, you notice the offer of a free e-newsletter. “Of course I’ll sign up!” you say to yourself, and you quickly enter the required information.

At this point, you may be thinking this is going to be one of those cautionary tales about identity theft, or about hackers using your email address to lay waste to your critical files. Maybe the Russian mob is going to transfer all your financial assets to a “bank” in Belarus. No, nothing so nefarious. What happens next is that you start getting a newsletter, just like you wanted.

There is a bit of problem, though. It seems like every time you go to your inbox, you see they’ve sent you yet another edition. You’re busy, so you just delete it, unopened … or maybe you skip it to read later (but “later” doesn’t come). And because you have a tendency to subscribe to these things (reading them always seems like such a good idea at the time!) you have a lot of different newsletters to delete … so many in fact, that you may accidentally delete something important. And this, my friends, is the plague we’re calling ‘White Spam.’

Though e-newsletters are a prime example of email that can become White Spam, other types of messages may also qualify for this designation. White Spam could also be sales alerts from your favorite online retailer, updates about your favorite sports team from ESPN, or Facebook notifications. The thing they all have in common, however, is that you said you wanted them … and in a world where you had unlimited time (and pretty much nothing else to do) you might even still want them.  But in the real world, these messages magically transform into junk that overwhelms your email inbox. Despite the good intentions, White Spam is effectively no more welcome than unsolicited emails from Nigerian royalty … or promotions for some type of personal ‘enhancement’ (*aherm cough cough).

We all know the problems that too much email can cause:

  • Distractions that sap productivity
  • Clutter that hides critical messages
  • Feeling depressed just looking at an overflowing inbox

…. In our December newsletter, we wrote about the challenges associated with email management, but ironically, due to its benign origins, White Spam requires a different mindset if you hope to deal with it effectively. We can’t simply say, “Don’t ever sign up for anything … ever.” Instead, we’re dedicating this special edition of the SynchroNet newsletter to helping you deal with White Spam in a realistic manner.