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The term “mainsleaze” in IT refers to spam or low-quality marketing done by reputable mainstream businesses, as opposed to faceless black hatters or infamous spamming companies. It describes campaigns that are often disavowed by the companies in question, or campaigns that are out of character for these companies.
Mainsleaze can take a variety of forms. For example, a big-name retailer might have their name appear in a series of spam messages that are quickly shut down after they get to a certain number of users. Marketers talk about having “plausible deniability” for these types of campaigns, which are often done by third parties. The mainstream retailer or business can pretend it had no involvement in the campaigns. In some cases, these campaigns are mistakes or impositions where a third party acts as an imposter for the brand.