PHUKET OPINION: Some notes on the value of spam

PHUKET: Following a salvo of gratuitous email last week from a local hospitality service company announcing the launch of a new business – which has now itself begun to indulge in daily bulk mailings – we at the Phuket Gazette have re-evaluated our long-standing policy against the use of spam for any purpose.

And we’ve decided to change nothing.

We’re not altruistic, nor are we averse to corporate self-promotion – in moderation, and in the right places. But we do not believe that the in-boxes of our readers, advertisers or other contacts in Phuket qualify as a ‘right place’.

What is spam?

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One definition, in Wikipedia, holds spam as “unsolicited bulk email, frequently with commercial content.”

Another, at, defines a spammer as one who “floods the internet with many copies of the same message in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.”

A third source,, defines spam as electronic junk, unsolicited, generally of an advertising nature, and sent often to a (stolen or purchased) mailing list.

Webopedia, goes on to digress into the etymology of electronic ‘spam’, referring to the dominant characteristics it shares with the infamous canned lunch meat of the same name: “Nobody wants it or ever asks for it”.

Definitions abound, but if you’re a recipient, rather than a sender of spam, you won’t suffer much confusion over what is and what isn’t. A farmer might not be able to define ‘buffalo’, but he knows one when he sees it.

At the Gazette, we have our own, reader-preferred definition of spam: If the recipient sees it as such, it is. (We don’t give much weight to the sender’s view of it.)

In the case of the massive spam shot at Phuket residents last week, the ‘targets’, among others, included all of the roughly 200 members of a well known local charity organization whose mailing list was, by club rules, strictly private and confidential.

How the list found its way into the database of the sender, or the spamming service used by that sender, is unknown. Nor is it known at this point how many other local private membership lists were violated in the operation.

But the message to us was clear: DON’T spam thy neighbor. Whether masked as a ‘Press Release’, a ‘Newsletter’ or a daily ‘News Alert’, spam is ugly, crude and decidedly unfriendly.

It’s also like bad breath and body odor. Your friends, customers and other ‘targets’ won’t tell you. They’ll simply relegate you – in silence – to their Blocked Senders list.


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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