Re: legitimate unsolicited commercial e-mail vs spam
DAVID ROSS WROTE:
> I am writing a paper taking the position that legitimate
> unsolicited commercial e-mail (e.g. business to business, or
> directed at website owners, complying with proposed/actual
> federal and/or state legislation, with easy removal from
> mailing list, etc) should be distinguished from "bad" spam
> (e.g. fake return addresses, pyramid plans, pornography,
> etc.), and should be permitted (if not actually encouraged).
TO WHICH JIM REARDON REPLIED:
> There is absolutely no good unsolicited commercial email.
> It's not possible to target UCE... Provable by the 'smart'
> spambots ...
AND TO WHICH FRANK FLEISCHER ALSO REPLIED:
> Sorry David, every definition I have seen of spam anywhere
> says your term "legitimate unsolicited commercial e-mail"
> is an oxymoron. Spam is unsolicited email of any kind...one
> cannot legitimize it by calling it something it is not. A
> rose by any other name...
Dear Jim and Frank:
Thanks for your comments on my posting. I recognize the
problems involved in the mass shotgunned e-mails and share
your distaste for them. But must every unsolicited
commercial email always be spam?
What I am thinking of is really more of a b2b situation.
E.g. where the owner of WebSite A (which makes widgets)
invests the time and energy in actually researching, finding
and visiting Websites B, C & D (online widget retailers),
and wants to sell them A's widgets. A is not harvesting
random e-mail addresses (or buying them from such a
harvester). Yet an unsolicited email to B, C & D proposing
a business relationship would be, as Frank points out, by a
strict definition, spam.
In the offline world, A's contacting B, C & D would be at
worst, a cold sales call or letter. Online, it technically
falls within the definition of spam and thus becomes a
capital offense - deserving of flaming, mailbombs,
complaints to A's ISP, etc. My father was a wholesale
furniture salesman and a good chunk of his business was
derived from making and following up on cold calls to
Don't get me wrong, I don't want spam sprayed like a shotgun
blast across the net either. And I certainly don't want to
be an apologist for some of the reprehensible practices of
the spammers. I just don't quite see why a communication,
which is a legitimate business practice in one context has
to automatically be a "crime" in the online context. It just
seems to me that there has to be a place for some online
version of the "cold call".
I'd appreciate hearing your reaction to this.
Received on Tue Nov 02 1999 - 19:34:00 CST
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