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                     The E-Marketing Digest
                      Volume #2, Issue #4
                         May 13, 1997
                    Gary K. Foote, Moderator


Table of Contents

+ Moderator Comments

+ New Subjects

    "Stupid SPAM"
        - Glenn Barry

    "Opt-in Advertising
        - Julie Frost

+ Ongoing

    "The definition of Spam"
        - Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer
        - Gary K. Foote
        - Harvey Segal

+ The Corkboard

+ Miscellaneous


+ Moderator Comments


                          New Subjects

From: Glenn Barry 
Subject: Stupid SPAM

These are two examples of SPAM of the Worst kind. They have grabbed
my name from a posting in a newsgroup. I have learned my lesson. I
will never post in a newsgroup again. They are just two examples
of dozens I get from "savetrees", whoever they are.


>Did you know you are probably owed money?
>NINE OUT OF TEN people are owed money they didn't know they had!
>There is over 400 BILLION dollars in unclaimed
>money in the United States!  This money is held
>by the government and other national depositories
>across the country.  This money is waiting for
>you to claim it and 9 out of 10 ofyou are owed
>some of this money!


As I live in Australia I doubt there is any of my money in the USA.
[Also] This SPAM is 4,000 words long!! I have spared you the pain with

>This is a "ONE-TIME MESSAGE" you were randomly selected to receive
>this. You will NOT receive any further mailings from us.


It is not a one time message I have about ten, one time messages.

Not once have these clowns at savetrees even send something that
would be worth my time reading. What fools they are paying
them for my address for USA only special deals.

Some are "legitimate" companies who include
an email address, they suffer my abuse as a result.

It is this type of Spammer that destroys email as a marketing tool.
I now get so angry at any spam that no matter what the offer,
no matter what the information, I trash or flame them.

Email has potential as a marketing tool. But not when it is abused
by mindless mass junkmailers.

Glenn Barry

            ***  New Post - "Opt-in advertising"  ***

Subject: Re: The E-Marketing Digest, V2, #3

Well, let me pose this question in regards to Spam: Why aren't more people
using the opt-in lists? To me this is a perfect solution. I am on a few of
PostMaster Directs' opt-in lists, and even if I don't actually buy anything
from the ads, they are highly targeted to my interests, and I actually
*enjoy* getting them!

Spam, in my mind, is not only Spam because it is unsolicited, but also
because it is so un-targeted. I have never once shown an interest in MLM's,
but for some reason,  I get more mail from them then anyone
else. Anyhow, it's just MHO, so you can take it or leave it. ;-)

BTW, I'm really enjoying this list!
Good Luck!
Julie Frost
Sage Web Creations          *******    "Designed to get you more business."   ***   Member - HTML Writers Guild
Sign up for our FREE Internet Marketing e-newsletter - go to:


From: "Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer" 
Subject: Re: The Definition of Spam

Moderator wrote
>Spam is:
>    Any unsolicited e-mail, whether widely broacast through
>    e-mail or USENET, or sent to a single recipient.

AY wrote:
>This definition isn't correct. Any advertisement is unsolicited,
>because it is to inform people about something they don't know
>anything about. So, according to your definition any advertisement
i>s a spam (which of course may be true).

My thinking on this is that the problem word is "unsolicited."  Going
back to my university logic classes: all spam is unsolicited, but
not all unsolicited email is spam.  My firm has sent unrequested
e-mail to single recipients (never in bulk), which has resulted
in many requests for proposals for PR/Marketing services.
According to the definition this was spam.  According
to the recipient, it was a timely, helpful note.  Perhaps it
would be interesting to field comments from those on the
list on "unsolicited" requests that have been well-received,
and from an objective review of such posts determine
the consistent characteristics in order to further
refine the definition. Just a thought....

Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer              Voice: 509-332-3956
CFNA, Inc.: PR/Marketing              Fax: 509-334-2525
   ~~Plus...Publishers of Canine Times, the
     free e-mail newsletter for dog owners~~

            ***  New Post - "The definition of spam"  ***

[Moderator post]

Yesterday, wrote;

>What does "...widely broadcast through...USENET..." actually mean?
>If I have an 'ad' that I want to post in some usegroups, and I first
>check out the groups and find that they consist mostly of 'ads'
>(which I would then interpret as being OK to post to), when does it
>become inappropriate to post? Is there a certain quantity? And, what
>of 'cross-posting'? Is it better to post an 'individual' ad to 20 or
>so different newsgroups (assume appropriate) ==OR== is it better to
>(cross) post that same ad ONE TIME to 20 or so different groups?

LAGerard, the targeting you suggest is mandatory (as you obviously
know) before posting to ANY newsgroup.  Advertising type groups are
out there, but I wonder just how effective posting to them is.  It
seems to me that, if I am selling - say - canoes, then I would look
for newsgroups that had relative merit, like alt.rivers or* or alt.adventure.  Then I would hang out long enough to
get a feel for each group...  their level of tolerance, their personal
'style'.  Once I felt somewhat at home I would then begin
participating in each newsgroup...  not as an advertiser, but as a
member of the group discussion.  If someone asked about how to re-cane
the seat on an Old Town canoe, I would offer detailed instructions...
even point to one of my web pages with instructions and pictures.  If
someone asked for a travel through New England itinerary, then I
would offer my best suggestions - including canoeing nearby my

The ad copy comes in my signature, attached at the end of each
message I send out, instead of blatantly stated in the body of my
message.   To maximize the effect of your signature, write it like ad
copy instead of like a business card.


            ***  New Post - "The definition of spam"  ***

Subject: Definitions, continued writes

>Is it better to post an 'individual' ad to 20 or
>so different newsgroups (assume appropriate) ==OR== is it better to
>(cross) post that same ad ONE TIME to 20 or so different groups?

It is better to post the same ad ONE TIME to 20 or so groups.
There is an article 'Current Spam thresholds and guidelines' posted
regularly to which has an abbreviated
form which I quote here.

This article is posted once per week and is intended to describe the
current consensus spam thresholds and ensure that the definitions of
the terms are available.  It is believed that most spam cancellers use
these definitions and thresholds.

Excessive Multi-Posting (EMP) means the same as the term "spam" usually
does, but is more accurate and self-explanatory.  It means,
essentially, too many separate copies of a substantively identical

"Substantively identical" means that the material in each article
generated by the poster is sufficiently similar to construe the same
message.  The signature is included in the determination.  These are
examples of substantively identical articles:

      - byte-for-byte identical messages
      - otherwise identical postings minimally customized for each group it
        appears in.
      - advertising the same service.
      - articles that consist solely of the same signature
      - articles which consist of inclusions of other user's postings,
        but are otherwise identical.

Cross-posting means that a single message appears in more than one
group.  Most newsreaders allow you to specify more than one group in a

Excessive Crossposting (ECP), also refers to where a "lot" of postings
to more than one group each have been made.

Some people think cross-posting is "bad".  In and of itself, it's
actually good behaviour - it allows you to reach more groups with less
impact on the net.  Especially if you set the followup-to: header to
one group.

This author considers the term "spam" to mean excessive postings of
EMP and/or ECP variety.  That is, "spam", is a generic term for several
different things.  The term is _supposed_ to mean EMPs only, but most
people use "spam" to mean any "excessive posting".

A spam, EMP, or ECP then refers to a posting that has been posted to
many places.  There is a consensus that there is a point at which
it is abuse, and is subject to advisory cancellation.

A formula has been invented by Seth Breidbart which attempts to
quantify the degree of "badness" of a spam (whether EMP or ECP) as a
single number.  The Breidbart Index (BI) is defined as the sum of the
square roots of n (n is the number of newsgroups each copy was posted

Example: In its simplest form, each post to a single newsgroup counts
on the Index as 1.  This is because the square root of 1 is 1.  So
to calculate the BI, simply add up the number of posts made.

It is only a little bit more complicated if each post is further
crossposted to multiple groups.  This additional complication
actually works to the favor of the poster.

Example: If two copies of a posting are made, one to 9 groups, and one
to 16, the BI index is sqrt(9)+sqrt(16) = 3+4 = 7.

The thresholds for spam cancels are based _only_ on one or more of the
following measures:

        1) The BI is 20 or greater over a 45 day period.
        2) is a continuation of a previous EMP/ECP, within a 45 day
           sliding window.  That is: if the articles posted within the
           past 45 days exceeds a BI threshold of 20, it gets removed,
           unless the originator has made a clear and obvious effort to
           cease spamming (which includes an undertaking to do so
           posted in  This includes "make
           money fast" schemes which passed the EMP/ECP thresholds
           several years ago.  This author recommends one posting
           cross-posted to no more than 10 groups, no more often than
           once every two weeks (a BI of 3).

A single posting cannot be cancellable - to reach a BI of 20, it would
have to be cross-posted to 400 groups.  This isn't possible due to
limitations in Usenet software.

These thresholds are applied to all hierarchies, not only the big8, but
alt, bitnet, bionet, biz and regional hierarchies etc.    Many hierarchies
have more restrictive rules which are decided upon and enforced by their
users and administrators.

These cancels have nothing whatsoever to do with the contents of the
message.  It doesn't matter if it's an advertisement, it doesn't matter
if it's abusive, it doesn't matter whether it's on-topic in the groups
it was posted in, it doesn't matter whether the posting is for a "good
cause" or not.

Spam cancels are non-content based.  They're not based on _what_ was said,
they're based only on how many times it was said.

Administrators wishing to ignore spam cancels cancels can "alias out" the
site "cyberspam", and the cancels will not affect your system.  This
is normally done at your feed site, but patches are available for
INN to allow you to reject spam cancels on your own system.   Ask in if you need this patch.

Harvey Segal
"Essential Online Information"

[Moderator's $.02]

Harvey - Thanks for a great deal of specific information on what
constitutes, by current 'standards', spam on USENET.  The base
posting rate of no more than one post to no more than 10 newsgroups
no more often than once every two weeks sounds to me like plenty of
freedom to market...  as long as I take the time to carefully target
my efforts.  Rare is the occasion when a product or service would
relate to more than 10 groups, and posting once every two weeks seems
like light intrusion to me.


                          The Corkboard



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