Stop e-mail sales!!!!

Ian A. York iayork at panix.com
Tue Nov 17 09:20:41 EST 1998


(This turned into a longish rant.  Delete and continue if you want.)

In article <pxpst2-1711980843520001 at pelli.pathology.pitt.edu>,
Peter <pxpst2 at unixs.cis.pitt.edu> wrote:
>
>spam then you must do three things. 1) do not post under your "proper"
>address.  By this I mean that you should throw in some extra letters like
>".DELETE.THIS." in your reply to address.  Many Spam lists get put

This is not only worthless, it's worse than useless.  Spam harvesting
software today automatically searches for and trims out the obvious spam
traps, including "DELETETHIS" and various combinations.  All you've done
is made it more difficult for real people to contact you, while allowing
spammers free access.  The opposite of what you wanted.  

>together by the mining of addresses from usenet posts. 2) Be stingy with
>the doling out of your email address when at corporate sites.  Although

Good advice.

>corporate servers. 3) If you are using Eudora or a like program, learn to
>use the filters.

Also fair advice; however, effective spamtrap filters are very difficult
to set up on your own. 

An increasing number of commercial ISPs are providing spam filters that
are more or less effective; there are various strategies.  If you're
interested in them, drop me a note and I can point you to some
publicly-available examples, which you might be able to adapt.

>Just as a comparison, think about all the crap you recieve in the snail
>mail and in the case of the mail, they have to cut trees down and those

Bad comparison.  You pay for the email you receive, while the bulk snail
mail you receive not only is free to you, it actually subsidizes regular
mail.

Bulk email shifts the cost from the sender to the recipient.  If you think
you're getting free email, you're wrong; you pay for it, if not directly,
then indirectly.  

That SEE MY PORN XXX SITE email you received was charging you for the
privilege of receiving it; not to mention your time--the time you spent
setting up your email filters, the time it takes five million people to
look at and delete it, the time it takes the abuse departments to deal
with the complaints.  The time it takes me to write this post, I guess. At
the very least, the spammer has stolen your resources.  Filters, mail
processing, and so on cost money, they cost processing time; the spammer
has taken that money out of your pocket ... who did you think pays for it?

>bad for rivers (ie Pigeon Ford tenn.)  So in many respects it is better to
>get spam email than spam snail mail.

I strongly disagree.  Spam email today is an annnoyance, with gusts to a
serious problem.  There are plenty of legitimate businesses who have had
to remove their contact addresses because of the spam problem, already.

But here is the real concern:  The spam problem today is in spite of
near-universal loathing of the practice.  People generally *hate* spam.
They complain in droves.  It's the biggest source of complaints to ISPs.
The level of spamming you see today is *in spite* of this universal hatred
of spam.

If people stop complaining--if they start saying, "Well, it's better than
snail mail"--then what's going to happen in a year's time?

If spam becomes acceptable, then legitimate businesses--as well as the
scum, the porn merchants, the chain-mail money scammers--will start using
it.  Why not?--it's cheaper to send out five million emails than to print
up fifty fliers and stick them on car windshields.  What's going to happen
if every business in North America and Europe sends out one batch of spam
per year?  That means there will be thousands--literally thousands--of
spam email in your inbox every single day.  From Chinese restaurants in
New York, car washes in Albania, discount stores in Toronto.  

In other words:  Given half a chance, spammers will destroy email.

So the attitude to spam has got to stay the way it is.  Continue to fume;
if you can read headers, complain to the ISP responsible; do whatever you
to keep spamming in the same social bracket as farting in public.  Don't
start saying that it's better than snail mail!

Sorry to rant about this in this inappropriate forum.  I'll not say
anything else about this (at least for another six months, till the next
round of spamming).

-- 
    Ian York   (iayork at panix.com)  <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England



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