There is no such thing as “grey mail”

I just read today at the Windows Team Blog that Hotmail declares war on graymail. However, I assert that there is not such thing as “gray mail”.

It doesn’t matter if it is an email offering me dodgy Rolex replicas or dubious pharmaceuticals, or if it is a newsletter from a major and respectable institution. Any speculative email I receive that I haven’t explicitly subscribed to, is to be considered SPAM. Enough said.


  • What if you have subscribed, but the frequency is too high for your liking? I enjoy products from a home automation store in California, but they send blasts several times a week. There is no frequency option on their website and their marketing department does not know how to set a maximum-contact-per-timeframe. I don't want to unsubscribe, but the idea of having hotmail remove all but the most recent x messages appeals to me. $0.02

    • Dave,

      Well if I explicitly subscribed to it, then couldn't I just unsubscribe by sending an email back or changing my subscription settings through my account at the provider's site?

      I do like the idea of user's being able to unsubscribe directly from their email client/browser. GMail does offer this feature but I got some bounced messages back a few times.

  • For me it's more about frequency. I don't want to unsubscribe, but if I'm getting daily deals which I haven't had a chance to read – I don't want them clogging my inbox. So I set that address to self clean every day, or x days.

    It's a small thing, and probably not worth the time they put in to developing it, but I enjoy seeing projects where people remember the promise made to us – that computers would free our time and make our lives easier.

    • I agree with you. As an organisation that sends newsletters, Microsoft for instance leads by example, allowing users to set out all of their newsletter requirements through a central profile page. For other organisations that don't provide such functionality, the ability to have my email provider to automatically remove all but the most recent X messages is an appealing feature.

      But the issue I was raising is with the terminology 'grey mail", which I disagree.

      Microsoft was claiming that those "gray mails" are responsible to a large segment of the email traffic on the Internet. The point I was making is that those "legitimate newsletters", when sent to users that have not explicitly solicited to subscribe, should also be considered SPAM; regardless of their content.

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