Spam emails are out of hand. Amazon isn't helping

There’s a lot to like about Amazon. Filling our email inboxes with more spam isn’t one of them.

The e-commerce juggernaut announced at its annual sellers conference, Amazon Accelerate, that it will help its roughly 2 million merchants send marketing pitches to Amazon customers.

“Brands are able to quickly acquire new customers in the Amazon store, but they expressed a need for improved tools to increase customer lifetime value,” Benjamin Hartman, vice president of Amazon North America Selling Partner Services, said in a statement.

“These improvements help unlock the value of remarketing as we further our commitment to helping sellers reach the right customer, at the right time.”

That’s nice for sellers. Not so much for spam-weary consumers.

Amazon’s Tailored Audiences program is now in beta testing. The company plans to make it available to all U.S. merchants by early next year.

The system lets sellers “select the customer audience types” they want to reach, Amazon says, and the retail giant then “sends the marketing email directly to those customers.”

Here’s the thing: It’s estimated that more than 22 billion spam emails traverse the internet every single day.

That means nearly 85% of all emails are spam.

And legitimate advertising — as opposed to fraud and scams — already makes up more than a third of all email spam.

So it’s nice that Amazon is looking after the interests of its merchants. But come on.

The world needs less spam, not more.

The solution clearly is to enact reforms that require opt-in approval for marketing pitches, rather than placing the onus on consumers to opt out from an endless deluge of unwanted messages.

Studies consistently show that most people won’t take the time to opt out. That’s why the current system is ineffective.

And thanks to Amazon, it’s about to get worse.

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