[LINK] RFI: Help re SPAM Privacy Laws
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:50:23 +1100
At 13:39 +1100 18/2/03, Craig Sanders wrote:
>[snip] the content is irrelevant. the fact that it is unsolicited is what
>makes it spam.
Then I'm afraid we'll just have to agree to disagree, Craig.
You're saying that *any* communication which is initiated by a vendor [*]
is always wrong -- no matter how it's worded, how individual, how
polite, or how "relevant". That a vendor can *never* begin a dialog
with a potential customer.
And I'm saying that anyone should be able to start the dialog --
provided that, like communication in any other context, it's done
politely, appropriately, and with some measure of respect for the
That is, for me the content and the context are *exactly* what
determines whether it's appropriate or not -- or whether it's spam or
I agree that spam's a problem. I don't think a blanket ban on vendors
initiating contact is the solution. And from other postings on this
thread, at least some people agree.
As an example, last year a vendor (who, I'll admit, I'd previously
used in another context to provide another service) contacted me out
of the blue with a suggestion for how I could work differently. That
suggestion ended up saving me about $6000 in the course of the year.
But I'd never have found out about it if he hadn't initiated the
conversation. In fact I'd never even have thought of the idea he
Your emotional response to unsolicited commercial communication is
obviously a strong one. Your posting uses terms like "clueless" (at
least twice) and "inconsiderate jerk". You even say that "a FOAD [**]
response is entirely appropriate". Yet the scenario being discussed
was about an individual communication, and since the writer
presumably wanted the recipient to respond, he probably included some
real contact details. All other things being equal, if Person A
starts off with a polite message and Person B responds with FOAD,
then it wouldn't be Person A I'd be labelling as rude! :)
But, you're certainly entitled to not want to receive email like
this. In which case any responsible business will respect a mechanism
through which you can say "Please don't talk to me ever about
anything 'commercial'," should you choose to list yourself in it. I
just don't think that ban should automatically apply to everyone.
* I'm using the word "vendor" for lack of a better generic term for
"someone who is offering goods or services on a commercial basis".
I honestly don't think the world really does divide neatly into
"vendors" and "consumers". For one business I consult for, some
20%+ of their business customers are also suppliers. Business is
based on network relationships, and the networks go both ways. A
courier firm will shift packages for a car company, but will also
buy cars. Even an old-style employee-employer relationship has
two directions: someone who works for Telstra will also have a
phone bill to pay.
** FOAD: I had to look this one up, so I'm assuming others might have
to. It stands for "fuck off and die".
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