Recently I have been dealing with a particularly egregious form of spam - technical recruiter emails. One company in particular, Talentberg, stands out for its lack of professionalism and ignorance. They absolutely refuse to prune their mailing list, even when repeated requests are made. And they attempt to justify their actions through an intimidating, if false, disclaimer.
As an Information Technology professional I have maintained a current copy of my resumé online, both on sites of my own as well as on Dice.com, for more than a decade. Technology placement firms and recruiters traverse the web and catalog all the resumés they can find. Each resumé is indexed by keywords, allowing the recruiter to automatically send out emails soliciting interest in new positions they are trying to fill. Post a resumé that is buzz-word compliant online and you too will start getting “Urgent Opening - Respond with Rate Immediately” emails.
Are these messages spam? Not in the strictest sense; placing your resumé online for all to see is advertising and contains an implicit offer. The recruiter is responding to that offer. However, these messages are still in a bit of gray area. They are unsolicited, and often are wildly off base with regard to the alignment of the opening they tout and your actual experience or interest. How the sender of these messages responds to requests to cease sending the emails, is the final criteria that determines if they are spam or not.
Most recruiters understand relationship management is their true business; can they develop a cordial, professional relationship with me that is mutually beneficial to all involved? Unfortunately, some feel that high-pressure and a lack of common courtesy is warranted, even acceptable. Who cares if we trample the sensibilities of one or two or even a hundred people we blindly email? After all, there are lots of IT professionals out there, we’ll focus on the ones who aren’t squeamish about integrity or ethics. This descent into used-car-sales techniques is not an endorsement.
The disclaimer that Talentberg, and others, use to claim their message isn’t spam is Senate bill 1618 or House resolution 4167. Both of these bills contained language outlining what was or wasn’t spam. The disclaimer looks like this:
S.1618 does exist, and contains this language:
Some email may alternatively quote H.R. 4176 § 101:
Two, the erroneously quoted S.1618 is usually incomplete. It appears that their email template truncates the notice. Either they don’t know how to configure their own outbound email, making them incompetent, or they are deliberately trying to make it hard for people to unsubscribe to their messages, making them unethical. Either way, I am not interested in putting something as valuable as my professional life into their hands.
Three, their absolute refusal to remove my address from their mailing list despite numerous, repeated request from me to do just that. I have finally caved in and added rules to my mail server and client to “mark as read” and “delete” all messages from their domain.
In researching this “company” several inconsistencies appeared. Their web site was only registered in February of this year, yet they claim a longer history than that. Their site lists only a vice-president as part of the management team. Furthermore, while you can find at least two people associated with the company on LinkedIn, one seemingly has two names, on American sounding and the other Asian in nature. All of which adds up to a fly-by-night organization.
 Source: Spam and the Law - S. 1618 and H.R. 4176