Spam refers to unwanted commercial email that is sent to a large number of recipients.

Also referred to as junk email, it shouldn't be confused with cold outreach. The latter is typically targeted and personalized while spam usually takes the spray and pray approach sending generic messages to as many people as possible.

Spam emails are heavily regulated (and mostly illegal), so email marketers have to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act (or any other applicable legal document depending on their location).

Related terms:

  • Spam filters are the tools that prevent potentially dangerous messages from reaching your inbox, usually based on their content or sender’s authority.
  • Spam words are the words or phrases that are widely used in junk emails. You can also think of them as red flags that can trigger spam filters.

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How to Prevent Emails from Falling into Spam (Best Practices)