Spam, Unsolicited Commercial Email, UCE

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Can Spam! Before it's too late!
by Mike Banks Valentine

Internetweek recently ran a survey asking companies if they
ever use Unsolicited Commercial Email to market their business.
The results were astounding assuming the respondents represent
real, legitimate businesses! (How many spammers read

"In fact, one in 25 of our survey's respondents said their
companies' marketing efforts include the distribution of
unsolicited e-mail."

And that is just those who ADMIT spamming! That is a very ugly
percentage and something needs to be done. I am in contact with
the Chief Privacy Officer of one of the largest email marketing
companies on the web asking to be removed from the marketing
database by domain.

That seems to be difficult. Why? I want my subscriptions to remain
intact, I want my hosted applications to continue undisturbed,
I want to request information from online companies and I want
all of that while also wanting to stay out of marketing databases.

This seems like a relatively simple thing to do technologically.
Internetweek recently published an article titled "Privacy tools
emerge" at:

What makes the process of privacy protection so hugely complex?

WebSite101 recently added a privacy protection tool to our
domain which protects our database from outside access and
seems like a perfect solution to keeping our subscribers
and site members information private on a shared server. We
highly recommend it for those who value the privacy of their
web site members.

Take a look at the possibilities for both privacy protection and
website community building on your own domain:

This software allowed us to offer an iron-clad privacy policy.
The trust of your visitors is far more important than any other
feature you could offer. Immediately following the posting of
our new privacy policy, we experienced an upsurge in new
memberships unprecedented since the inception of our site!

Isn't it clear we all want a solution?

There are raging anti-spamming fanatics getting legitimate
companies shut out of their ISP's by falsely accusing people
of distributing UCE (when their domain is mentioned in an article
published by *anyone*) by running entire newsletter through a
service called SpamCop. This tool is abusive and should be shut
down or discredited since it extracts every domain name mentioned
in the newsletter and sends email to the host of those domains and
endangers the owners of those domains with knee-jerk reactions by
their ISP's. It is not uncommon that victims of these complaints
are shut down by their web host without investigation!

"Guilty until proven innocent" is the attitude of many service
providers since they are under constant pressure from everyone
from their customers to their own providers to do something to
prevent further complaining and end email abuses. This has caused
a new backlash by innocents who have been threatened with the
closure of their online business stemming from those spurious

If this anti-spam article were published in an anti-spam
newsletter and the newsletter were submitted to SpamCop
every domain mentioned within this text would be turned in
to their ISP for spamming. How effective a tool is one that
indiscriminately shoots at everyone? That is essentially
the effect of anti-spam software used badly. It would shoot
to kill all, including the anti-spam sites mentioned here.
Everybody is hot under the collar about spam but nobody is
doing anything real to stop it legitimately. The government is
debating the issue and threatening to pass stringent laws, but
haven't figured out how to legislate the issue. Reference laws:

Now there are fanatics on both sides of the issue and it is going
nowhere but occassionally to the Realtime Blackhole List. This is
one attempt to address the issue that creates more heat than light.
Marketing companies want the Black Hole List shut down. Why? 24/7
media have recently won a court injunction to have their domain
removed from the Black Hole list.

For info about the Blackhole List at the Mail Abuse Prevention
System or MAPS visit:

Is Spam destined to join religion as one of those things we avoid
discussing in polite company out of fear of brawls breaking out? I
recently attended a marketing conference where the topic of spam
turned a roomful of reasonable folks into sharply divided camps
raging loudly at each other across the conference table.

I've just joined a spam discussion list where many of the same
emotions are raised in what seem to be otherwise reasonable folks.
Everyone seems to agree there is a problem, but each have very
distinct ideas about what should be done to address the problem.
Comparisons are constantly made to core issues of freedom of
speech, gun control, product liability, totalitarianism, and
all the while, nobody agrees on a solution.

Marketers should take the lead and help develop technological
solutions to unwanted email before they are hit with a massive
public backlash and the complete loss of this valuable marketing
medium due to public hysteria and government over-reaction.

I vote that DoubleClick, WhiteHat, 24/7 Media and their cohorts
commit a bit of their thinning profits to helping solve the
problem of spam before they get wiped out by the building tsunami
of public opinion.

We've recently added a Spam Tutorial to WebSite 101:

You can read it at the URL above or adopt the following guideline:

DON'T DO IT! End of lesson.

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet
Ezine emphasizing small business online
e-tutorial online at:
By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web!

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July 29, 2001