Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
For the average computer user, the word spam is a derogatory term that refers to unwanted or "junk" e-mail, usually of a commercial nature sent out in bulk. In computer gaming, the word is used to describe rapid, repeated use of the same action -- bombardment of sorts, difficult to avoid.
Just like solicitors knocking at your door, spam is almost always annoying. Spam is often targeted to a particular audience, including genealogists, in an effort to sell product. Some spam is malicious, containing code that transmits a computer virus. Other spam may be predatory, containing veiled frauds or scams. Most e-mail programs have built-in spam filters and ways to report spam. Individual users are encouraged to be prudent in giving out their e-mail addresses and paying attention to where their e-mail address is published. It is often useful to have a single e-mail address that is used to Internet transactions, and keeping your personal e-mail as private as possible.