When SPAM Gets Ugly

Have you ever gotten an email from someone you didn’t know?

It’s called SPAM and I get a lot of it. I probably get more than most people because I run a business – which means I get a million calls and emails trying to sell me services or asking about “business proposals”. This is an expected result of advertising my name, address, phone number and email and I can’t be too mad about that.

Crossing the Line

I recently received a “business proposal” from someone who works for a website offering reviews of web hosting companies. The message was submitted through my website’s “Contact Me” form, so it’s clear this person didn’t have my email address.

I have never heard of the company and certainly never contacted them – so I simply deleted the email and never thought anything more about it.

Until today.

At 3:43 AM last night, I received an email from a different person at that same company. Apparently they’re unhappy that I didn’t respond to their “proposal”. (A quick tangent – they never really explained what the “proposal” was… see the email below.)

My first reaction was to delete the second email… but the more I thought about it, the more irritated I became.

I’m not really annoyed they sent me a second email… but this guy had the audacity to look up my domain’s WhoIs records to find my email address. Granted, I probably should have used private domain registration to avoid situations like this – but in any case, it takes some serious balls to look me up and call me out via my personal email account.

Before I explain any further, here is the complete email communication between me and this (nameless) company:


I am interested in content advertising opportunities on your site–you have a great pool of write-ups in there. By the way, this is (name removed) and I work for (domain removed). Our company is one of the most reliable guides for webmasters and website development in the market. We offer in-depth reviews of various hosting providers and other web-related tutorials. Are you interested?

(Message sent via my website’s “Contact Me” form on 8/20/2010)


I have contacted you several times now regarding a business proposal. I
would really appreciate it if you could reply this time.


(name removed)

(Message sent via email at 3:43 AM on 9/9/2010)

My Response

I probably could have taken the high road at this point… but I am really irritated at this guy’s tone. My response:

(name removed),

  1. As far as I can tell, you have never contacted me before. The only email I have ever received from anyone at (domain removed) is someone named (name removed) – who submitted the “Contact Me” form on my website. (For the record, her email was written nicely.)
  2. I am not, and never was, interested in your “proposal”. I don’t know you or (name removed), and I’m a busy guy running a small business, so it should have been obvious that I am not interested because I didn’t respond.
  3. Because I don’t know you and have never once contacted anyone at (domain removed) I don’t owe you a response. Period. The only reason that you’re receiving this response is because I’m really annoyed you took the time (at 3:43 AM…) to write me a stinky email.
  4. It would appear that you got my email address from looking up my domain’s WhoIs records – unless you bought a list of emails containing my information – which bothers me in either case because this is a personal email account.

Just to be clear, I want you to take my name and email off whatever list you have. I want you to stop contacting me.

It would also be nice if you would stop sending stinky emails to people you “want to do business with”. I don’t know if your boss would appreciate the tone you used in your email to me, but as a business owner I would fire any employee who spoke to my clients like that.

I copied the person who first contacted me, as well as the email listed on their WhoIs records.

And in case anyone is wondering, I am not listing the names of the company or employees who contacted me. They don’t deserve any publicity… let alone an inbound link to their website.

What do you think?

Am I out of line? Am I crazy? Do I just need a cup of coffee? I want to hear your thoughts.


Arthur Kay is a senior software engineer interested in business, technology and leadership. He is a full-time JavaScript enthusiast, part-time mentor and amateur guitarist. He currently lives in greater Chicago-land.

3 comments for “When SPAM Gets Ugly

  1. September 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I like your response, good stuff! 🙂



  2. September 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    You should’ve turned on the Hate and went to town.


  3. January 4, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I get e-mails like that all the time from my contact form.
    I don’t think they are even human. Not even the follow-up response.
    One in particular just won’t give up. It just repeats the same
    thing over and over every month. {{{{I hope you had a moment to
    look at the visibility analysis of (name removed) that I emailed
    you a few days a go, as part of my research on Orlando businesses.
    If you’d like to speak with one of our web marketing experts for a
    free phone consultation to help improve your online presence please
    let me know, or for more immediate assistance you can fill out a
    form on our website () by entering your business phone

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