Owing to some very sloppy programming, by a rather amateurish Ruby coder, I was able to exploit a vulnerability in www.recruiterspam.com and determine the number of actual email addresses that received claimed 'spam' sent by recruiters. As far as I can tell, the number is 460, although possibly it is as low as 57 people using multiple "spam-trap" addresses, which is an illegal and deceptive practice recently ruled by the Courts to be a form of entrapment.
So, in short, all the thousands of innocent recruiters (many of whom sent only one email) listed as 'spammers' by www.recruiterspam.com are completely faultless. One of the other dirty tricks that was used by the coder(s) involved was refusing to allow recruiters to unsubscribe or remove bad addresses, which is also a deceptive and very unethical practice frowned on by the courts. Spam traps have been used by this group simply to harvest emails with the goal in mind of furthering their efforts to harass and humiliate diligent recruiters.
In any case, as far as I can determine (and I have been researching this question for several years) there are absolutely NO cases ever in the USA of recruiters being prosecuted or sued for 'spam', even in small claims courts. IF you know of a counter-example and can prove it, please let me know. Otherwise, it is very clear that the spam laws are targeted against fraudulent advertising and NOT legitimate email recruiting efforts.
Recruiting emails are simply not the kind of email targeted by the CAN-SPAM laws, unless they are false and misleading, sent from fake addresses, or sent repeatedly after recipients ask not to receive them... Please note, if someone complains about receiving 'spam' they must provide the email address that they wish unsubscribed. If they refuse to do so (like the recruiterspam site) they are simply an illegal and fraudulent extortion or libel effort.
"Real spam" is sent in volumes like 10 million emails per day, from fake email addresses, with misleading and false advertisements (often scams) and frequently involves 'bot' hijacking of computers and servers to send mass email. Usually, spam is sent from overseas to make it harder to prosecute. Nonetheless, even China, which has a death-penalty for spamming, continues to be one of the largest sources of spam in the world.
Despite the enormous distinction between spam and email recruiting, I absolutely recommend that you always unsubscribe people who request it! That is important and an ethical requirement. Still, spam filtering systems are about 95% to 99% effective. I have not received any spam at all, since switching web-hosts about six months ago. I used to receive 700 spam messages per day before that, largely because GoDaddy is a very poor service.
This means, realistically, IF your message to a candidate shows up in his inbox then it probably is NOT spam in the first place... If someone is a software engineer who isn't smart enough to filter their own emails properly, they probably aren't a very good candidate, either... meaning they potentially have to earn a living through other means, like crimes of extortion.
I recently got harassed by someone who had sent me a resume, begging for a job a year ago, and I happened to email him with a description (this was a personal email, sent only to him and no one else) with a job that was an excellent technical match. He responded with threats of lawsuit (demonstrating a very weak understanding of the law, which I demonstrated easily to him), and I reminded him that he was the one who had sent me his resume, of his own accord.... He made some 'hate-crime' like threats (threatening to stalk me with a group, etc.) and I reported him to the FBI.
These cyber-extortionists generally will not back down, even after the law is clearly explained to them, either. However, they do respect the fact that people can file complaints against them for cyberextortion and cyberbullying.
Inasmuch as people have created a clearly fake list claiming recruiters are spammers, and listing them by name (which is clearly an invasion of privacy and unwanted harassment), I suggest that we could create a group list (no one single recruiter would be responsible) of people who are suspected 'false spam complaint' extortionists.
Remember, these people with their fake complaints are really receiving about 1/100th as much email from recruiters as they are actually claiming (and I can prove it). The FBI is clearly interested in rounding up these scum of the earth, especially after the Sony hacking episode, etc.
If you are interested, and want to pool together names, please get in touch with me to see if we can get something started to combat these highly unethical hacker criminals. A list of frequent complainers would be helpful to recruiters (at least to know whom to avoid), and could also help efforts of law enforcement to crack down on the rising cyber-extortion trend across the globe.
P.S. I understand why I got "no takers" on the free $60K+ worth of retained searches for software engineers I was trying to give away last week, but seriously, is living in fear any way to do business?