ASDA, Marks & Spencer, and Topshop, some of the UK's biggest brands, have been accused of using spam-like tactics by spam monitoring firm Spam Ratings. Spam, spam, spam.
With more than 75 percent of emails coming from UK businesses labelled as unwanted and unsolicited, Spam Ratings has discovered that some leading companies are no better than the nearest botnet.
It was revealed that ASDA, M&S, and Topshop all fail to comply with spam regulations designed by the Direct Marketing Association and Information Commissioner's Office, both of which require that companies ask permission from customers before signing them up to mailing lists.
The big name companies were found to be in breach of this by Spam Ratings, using hidden default mailing list sign-ups as part of joining a website or selling on customer's details to other companies, which customers never agreed to.
Spamnet looked at 10,000 websites over a 12-month period, discovering that 40 percent of them sent “potentially dangerous” emails, while 30 percent sent unsolicited emails from third parties. Spam Ratings was particularly concerned about this selling on of customer details, which it said was on a “worrying scale”.
Because these messages come from trusted brand names, many do not see them as spam, even though they abide by conventional descriptions of what spam is and how it is delivered. The trend suggests that many users are prepared to accept unsolicited emails if it is a company they know about.
“It's amazing how many of us appear to accept spam and the everyday dangers and growing nuisance it brings,” said Andy Yates, co-founder of Spam Ratings.
“It shouldn't be like this - and it doesn't have to be. Spam really isn't a mystery. It comes from websites we sign up to who send us emails we haven't asked for, or worse still sell on our details to potentially dangerous third parties.”
ASDA got in touch with us and said: "We always ask our customers if they want to receive emails from us – we never send unsolicited emails. When we do send an email there is always the option to unsubscribe and we never sell on customer data to third parties.
"In fact, the only spam on offer at Asda are the fritters at 2 for £3."