We all know that the Internet changes constantly. It seems clear that one of these changes affecting those of us who use e-mail in business is the use of the word "spam" and specifically the term "spam complaint". A "spam complaint" used to refer to an unsolicited e-mail problem that was not resolved through traditional methods. Now it means that the recipient clicked the button "report spam" on their e-mail inbox. The term no longer reflects any indication of whether the e-mail was solicited nor whether there was any other traditional method of resolving the issue (like unsubscribe). In other words, fthe "spam complaint" button has become synonymous to "unsubscribe" but is favored by users because it is easier and faster.
I have recently come to the conclusion that the operating policies established by a wide range of Web companies (including Constant Contact, Comcast and Yahoo that I have had communications with lately) regarding spam complaints are out-of-date and that management of these companies is well aware of the issue. For example, I understand that the 1 in 5000 spam complaint ratio established as a yolerance level for Constant Contact customers is no longer reasonably attainable and so the limit is apparently no longer enforced.
It seems clear to me that some other methods of user-controled regulation of business e-mail will emerge soon and that the process of regulating spam by counting spam complaints is already obsolete. Firms like ConstantContact are likely to best serve by facilitating these evolving trends.