What happens when you mark or report an email as SPAM?

by Joe McDonald on October 12, 2012, filed under SeattleArtists.com News


I wanted to take a minute and inform our members & visitors about a problem many businesses run into managing their email campaigns, and a problem that we here at SeattleArtists.com also experience from time to time.

The question is, do you know what happens when you mark or flag an email in your inbox as SPAM?

Please be aware that clicking the SPAM button in your email program is NOT the same thing as unsubscribing from the list

We take a lot of pride in managing our email subscription lists and we always make sure people only receive emails that they opted-in to receive. As with many businesses, we actually pay for our email services, such as MailChimp, to ensure that our emails get through to subscribers correctly.

What many people may not be aware of, however, is that when you flag an email as SPAM in Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL, that complaint gets reported back to the email service being used, like MailChimp or Constant Contact etc. That service then reviews the senders account and will actually terminate their service if spam complaints continue to come in. That hurts legitimate businesses who are sending honest emails to subscribers who opted-in.

It could be that maybe you forgot that you did subscribe to the email or maybe you just don’t want to receive it anymore, but please be aware that clicking the SPAM button in your email program is NOT the same thing as unsubscribing from the list. I know we all get bombarded with spam and there is definitely a time to flag emails, but all legitimate emails will have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom in the footer. This unsubscribe link allows you to opt-out correctly if you no longer wish to receive the email. This is the fair and polite way to remove yourself from an email list.

Many times people just decide they are no longer interested in receiving an email so they just click the ‘SPAM’ button instead of the unsubscribe link. This hurts the organization sending out the email. If this is really an email subscription that you signed up for, PLEASE take a few extra seconds and locate the unsubscribe link in the email to remove yourself the right way.

Here at SeattleArtists.com, if you receive an email from us and click the button to flag it as spam, we have no choice but to suspend your account and remove you from our directory listings and all email lists. We do this in order to protect the services we rely on to conduct business and provide support and services to our members and subscribers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important message and thanks for supporting SeattleArtists.com!

do you know what happens when you flag or report an email as spam?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


anon.coder 05.09.13 at 4:51 am

Just an FYI, that many spam mails do have a “un-subscribe” link and use that to verify active email accounts !!


Joe 06.06.13 at 10:24 am

Very true that spammers do use the unsubscribe link to just confirm that your email is valid and there is nothing wrong with flagging REAL spam emails as spam. The point of the post is to urge people to take a moment to differentiate between unsubscribing from an email they did subscribe to versus just marking it as spam to remove it from your inbox – there is a difference. Thank you for making that point though.


Anthony 07.02.14 at 12:05 am

What do you do if you get a spam email and it’s from your own domain? I know there is a trick some spammers use to spoof your own domain name.

If you click spam, does it effect yourself?



Joe McDonald 07.24.14 at 12:46 pm

Hi Anthony, very good question. Marking an e-mail as spam doesn’t flag the e-mail address it appears to be coming from as bad. Marking it as spam simply flags the content as spam along with the originating sender, usually an embedded “reply-to” address that is the real sender along with information about that sending server. Mail uses more intelligent filtering that learns to recognize e-mail content that you consider to be spam. Only a small part of that is the e-mail address that it is coming from. Most spammers rarely stick to using the same “from” address so flagging those would not be an effective spam fighting mechanism. Bottom line is that you are typically safe when flagging spam that appears to come from your own domain. The emails are, as you point out, spoofed.

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