Unlike television and radio commercials, or even ad links on websites, unsolicited advertising is often obtrusive and unexpected. Unsolicited advertisements have moved far beyond paper junk mail letters to the electronic age and can even cost the recipient money. However, there are some methods that can help reduce the volume of unsolicited advertising.
Traditional Junk Mail
Advertisers still use hard copy direct mailings (the industry name for junk mail) to reach potential customers. Individuals can request that their names and addresses be removed from junk mail lists, which will vastly cut down on the amount of junk mail received.
Most people consider telemarketing phone calls to be among the most disruptive type of unsolicited advertising. Placing all the phone numbers for a household on the National Do Not Call Registry should decrease the number of unsolicited telephone calls received.
Junk mail began to invade email inboxes during the 2000s. Although the CAN-SPAM act supposedly prohibits much unsolicited email, it is still prevalent. Along with SPAM, some unsolicited email contains malicious code designed to hijack passwords from the user's computer. In some cases, the code freezes the computer, after which the computer owner receives a demand for "ransom" from the hacker in order to receive the remedy that will allow the owner to use his computer again.
Unsolicited faxes were a common scourge before the Internet became so prevalent. There are still instances of unsolicited faxes; however, they are illegal and if caught, the perpetrator can be subject to prosecution and fines.
Unsolicited Text Mesages
Consumers can take some action against unsolicited SMS or text messages. SPAM text messages fall under the CAN-SPAM act and are illegal. Consumers can ask their mobile phone carriers to block unsolicited messages from their phones. They can also ask for any charges from unsolicited text messages to be removed from their bills.
Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.