[thelist] The Spam Argument [long] (was: Hiveware email addressencoder)

bruce bedouglas at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 25 09:48:57 CDT 2003


you guys are slowly dragging me into this!!!

your friend has arguments that are pretty much based on the fact that the
costs of email are pretty much borne by someone else... when you or i or
others send a moderate amoutn of email, it's not a big deal... you're
willing to take the time to clean out your box, etc... there's a cost, but
it's realtively small, so you don't complain....

however, when someone starts to send massive (above some threshold) amounts
of mail, the cost rises... and someone is still paying.. your friend is only
able to do what she does, because part of her cost of doing business is
being paid by someone else..

a business could essentially dial up every known number and leave a
recording... the reason they don't ..the cost would be borne by the
business, making it difficult to really generate a profit this way... the
same for regular mail..

and this is in reality perhaps a good thing.. make the cost to initiate the
contact with the customer, be borne by the business, or at least have the
custoemr be a willing contributor/participant to the experience... ie you
have a store, i have to walk in the store... we're both sharing part of the
cost of contact!!

ask your friend if she'd still spam if her costs of emailing where to rise
by 10000%. she'd probably scream hell no!!...

the fact that she wants to continue her dealings to support her kid is
irrational and irrelavant from an economic point of view....

so... the real reason that spam has flourished is due to the economic
reality..it works for some people..for some things.. once a mechanism is put
into place.to reduce/eliminate the economic motive..spam will become less of
a problem...

two possible ways to accomplish this...
allow you to "own" your email address... and allow you to sign up for a do
not spam list. make it illegal for anyone to send "spam" to an address you
"legally own"..make it leagal for companies to sue spammers based upon them
sending you mail if you're registered to the spam list... in other words,
set up a corresponding system where you as the little guy.. can essentially
sue the spammer. but since you probably wouldn't sue, let another company do
it for you..similar to class action lawsuits... and make the penalties
high.. there are planty of companies who would sue..if there chance of
recouping was reasonable...

your friend would probably object..but hey..that's life!!

the 2nd approach...
raise the cost of doing email....by some 10000%..however, have a mechanism
in place that says if yousend less than x/month..you don't pay...

she'd probably scream here as well....


-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org
[mailto:thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org]On Behalf Of Frank
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 11:24 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: [thelist] The Spam Argument [long] (was: Hiveware email

At 04:44 PM 2003-07-24 -0700, you wrote:
 >a rather draconian solution for spam....

 >since we all agree the issue really isn't whatever form an
 >email address might be in on a particular site....

 >we all..i think...agree that the real issue is/are the
 >#$%$&%&% who do spam...

To play the devil's advocate, I'll disagree.

[NOTE: This comes very close to sounding like a rant. It's not, it's an
opposing point of view as was presented to me--massively paraphrased, of

The real issue is not people who spam. It is those who make it financially
viable to spam. I know a couple of people who are crossing the line between
"targeted email" and spam, one in particular is a friend. Know who these
people are? Most spam (I've observed) comes from entrepreneurs, home
businesses, and very small businesses (such as MLMers. It's rarely the
large corporations that spam; they can afford TV and radio time, glossy
brochures and so on.

I say: Spam sucks. It's a waste of my time and bandwidth, and I'm paying
the server bills and the latency on the network.

She says: I'm simply making use of the ability to communicate with people.
I don't scour the net for emails, I'm handed lists by people who have
signed up for service X. I'm simply using a strategy that has worked since
the beginning of human kind: I'm making people stand up and notice. Who are
you to tell me that I don't have the right to communicate with another

My communications are costing exactly the same amount as any other email.

I say: It's intrusive.

She says: So what? Televisions commercials are intrusive, yet it funds a
billion dollar market. I'm providing a valuable service. It's so valuable
that people PAY me to do this for them. I'm doing this to feed my 10 year
old girl and my 6 year old boy. I'd rather make someone go though the
effort of hitting the "delete" key than let my children starve.

I say: This is a big deal to many people.

She says: It's mostly a big deal to two groups of people. ISPs, because a
portion of their customers complain about it (the squeaky wheels), and the
people who own, run and work for the ISPs want to continue making a buck,
so they can feed their kids. So they acquiesce, and in doing so legitimises
the whines of a minority. Second, it's a big deal to a number of individual
users who don't are either  ideological zealots, or people who won't take
responsibility for their own life circumstances.

I say: That's pretty damned harsh! What about unsolicited porn?

She says: If an adult receives unsolicited pornography, it's up to them to
have the maturity to handle it. True, they may have kids, but they *are*
parenting responsibly, aren't they? It's not up to me to parent someone
else's child. (Besides, I don't do porn.)

I say: Why would you send email to people who don't want to receive it?

She says: I can't know that they don't want to receive it until they tell
me they don't. When they do, I take them off the list. It's a fact of
nature that most women will not approach a man and ask him to sell his best
qualities, a customer will rarely go out of his way to learn about a
product he's never heard of. If men were to assume that women don't want to
have relationships until they approach the men, our race would have been
long dead.

I say: But large companies have to manage mail for a lot of people, that
costs money in terms of man power.

She say: Cost of business in the modern age.  Deal with it. Until the
advent of the telephone, businesses didn't have to pay for operators,
either. What is considered a "cost" to the businesses is known as "a job"
to a person.

I say: But spam can be dangerous, it can contain viruses.

She says: Pull your head out of your @ss. I send email, not viruses. I
wouldn't stay in business long if I sent out viruses. I also don't send
scams, or chain letters.  Trying to sneak that into the conversation is a
pretty sad ploy.

I say: Some people consider spam, or it's content offensive.

She says: Some people consider free speech offensive. So what? If they are
offended, there's a chance that they won't show interest in, or buy the
product, there are some that won't be offended and will.  If I had not sent
spam, I can guarantee that none would have shown interest.

Final thoughts:

Spam is not evil. Spam is a symptom of a society that places such a high
emphasis on making money. Our society says "No money, no honey". In a ideal
world, a woman would value a man on welfare equally with the billionaire. A
man would be as attracted to an ugly woman as a beautiful one. This is not
an ideal world, it's the real world: deal with it

In a world of 6 billion people and easily as many products all competing
for your dollar, there are no more easy answers.

We live a society where it's no longer possible to grow and hunt one's own
food, and that all survival and leisure aids must pass though this
capitalistic system. This is simply how the system works, whether it's via
email, or TV or newspapers or word of mouth.

Until such time as people stop staring in slack-jawed glassy eyed
fascination Flash banners, colourful layouts with glossy brochure-style
pictures, until such time as people stop acting like stupid
stimulus-response consuming machines, they deserve what they get. The way
to make spam stop is to put your hand on your wallet and say "The buck
stops here". It took the spam system time to be born, and it'll take it
time to die, if we do so.

Until such time as people (en-masse and as individuals) start using their
brain and basing they choices on rational decisions, rather than emotional
impulses, spam, TV commercials, glossy flyers in the mail box will all
continue to work. Until such time as the population stops making it
profitable, it deserves every piece it gets. These are the principles of
democracy, capitalism and free speech.

"What we've got here, is failure to communicate. Some men, you just can't
reach, so you get what we had here last week.... which is the way he wants
it.  Well, he  gets it. I don't like it anymore than you men."  [from Cool
Hand Luke.]

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