educational

Spam Goes 'Legit'

Stephen Yagielowicz

Don't let the title fool you: this is not an article about how wonderful and effective a marketing tool spam has become, rather it's a search to find out why so many 'Webmasters' feel that it's an acceptable panacea for their traffic woes.

If you're like me, you wade through a sea of spam on a daily basis. Despite anti-spam filters, email traps, and a host of measures against this menace, the tide flows in unchecked. I have complained to ISPs, following the spammers trail upstream until I could follow no more. I've even been stupid enough to click on the 'remove' link, which does nothing more than let the spammer know he's hit a good address. I have even debated my 'opt-in' status with a spammer who was sending me multiple daily emails to multiple addresses at a recently registered - but never used - domain, i.e.: aa@domain.com, ab@domain.com, ac@domain.com. He stopped spamming me, but not until after he sold my email address to another party. A never ending sea of spam:

A 'Professional' Approach?
But it was the following email that sparked this whole line of thought for me; I read and then re-read it, feeling that if it wasn't an outright rip-off (which would hopefully show those wannabe spammers who are stupid enough to shell out this kind of money the error of their ways), that it was only made possible by a growing acceptance of spam as a legitimate tool for e-commerce. I had really hoped that this was not the case, but this offer's tone (and likely high response rate), seemed to dictate otherwise:

"Hello,

Ever wonder how the bulk mail artists of today get away with sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails without losing their ISP or breaking any laws? They spend almost no money, and rake in millions.

Well it is very simple, they all learned from the same person how to stay legal, and completely anonymous (without spending big money). Global129 has been hacking for almost 15 years. He has a intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the internet.

We are now sponsoring a series of seminars where you too can gain this invaluable knowledge. You will take part in a day-long seminar hosted by Global129 himself learning how to beat the ISP's and "SPAM Complainers" at there own game! The Secrets of Bulk e-Mail seminar will be in a city near you soon.

Admission will be $850 ($400 each additional person in your party) and pre-registration will start shortly. Limited seating is available. For more information, schedules and registration forms please e-mail [ DELETED ] (your address will NOT be sold or SPAMMEd)

Thank you.

Disclaimer:
We always abide by every law. We never tell you how to do something that will break any laws, and recommend that you always check federal/State/ and Local laws before engaging in bulk e-mailing activity."

### This misguided quest for cash is not just limited to the 'little guys' either, as evidenced by the recent AOL victory over CEN concerning the spamming of AOL'ers.

I found several points within this offer to be quite interesting, including their statement that my "address will NOT be sold or SPAMMEd" — which is especially noteworthy since this whole offer IS nothing but spam! Respondents to this mail will doubtless face an eternal onslaught of get rich quick schemes, moneymaking opportunities, and a never ending flood of 'bizop' spam — and it'll be EXACTLY what they deserve:

Desperate Times Breed Desperate Measures
I have to ponder whether the increasingly competitive nature of our marketplace coupled with a 'really don't give a shit' attitude is driving more and more people to take extreme measures in an attempt to turn a profit. This misguided quest for cash is not just limited to the 'little guys' either, as evidenced by the recent AOL victory over CEN concerning the spamming of AOL'ers. Even in light of events such as this, and an increase of regulatory scrutiny, there are still those people proclaiming the benefits of spam, and that's something that I just do not understand. If YOU are one of those who think that spam is an acceptable marketing option, then you should take a look at this before sending out your next mailing.

We all need traffic, but spamming is not the way to get it: ~ Stephen

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