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The E-Marketing Digest
Volume #2, Issue #17
May 28, 1997
Gary K. Foote, Moderator
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Table of Contents
+ Moderator Comments
"Spam and the First Amendment"
- Gary K. Foote
- Mark Whalen
- Vicki Simons
- Warren Smith
+ The Corkboard
"Murkowski Introduces Bill"
- Press Release
I thought you might be interested in this website about Spam
and the First Amendment. Check it out and let the list know
Gary K. Foote
From: Mark Whalen
Subject: On spam
Dear Gary, and fellow readers and contributers to EMD,
With all respect due Mr. Bruce Gabrielle, clearly an intelligent,
educated, and articulate individual, I submit the following, which I
promise shall be my last on this issue.
> "Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer" wrote:
> >Why, then,
> >if that occurs, would anybody in their right mind
> >continue to sell when there are no sales?
Bruce Gabrielle replied:
> Two reasons:
> 1. Since email is virtually free to send, a spammer could send one
> million email ads and if they find just one buyer, the venture is
To me, as an internet businessman, this seems simply not true, but an
over-statement designed to enhance the arugument that if we don't stop
spam, it will eventually completely overrun the internet mail system.
Only a product with a profit marigin of at least three figures (which I
rarely see in my spam) could make one single sale worth the time and
expense to send one million email ads. First, the addresses cost, and
the more addresses the more the cost. The cheapest I've seen advertised,
which I found right here in the last EMD (#15 Part A), is 30 million
addresses for $149.00 (which I find suspicious! Most likely, most are
undeliverable.) On the other hand, valid "opt-in" addresses cost $.15
each. A million of those cost $150,000. There is a very valid argument,
also in EMD #15, about how those addresses can be bought and spammed.
Then there is the email capturing software. That isn't free either, and
it takes someone to operate it.
That brings us to the human factor. It takes time, someone's time, to
write the copy, use the software, etc. This is a cost to someone. If
it's a one person operation, then that person must NOT waste time with
something that isn't paying off, if their intent is to make money. If it
is an employee, that person is getting paid, and must produce profit, or
the business actually loses money (hard cash) on the mailing. No, like
any other type of advertising, it has GOT to pay back more than it
costs, and it is not "virtully free". It's just much more economical
than any other method currently available.
> 2. Companies like Cyberpromotions make money by selling spamming services
> to other businesses. What do they care if it's effective? They just care
> that the advertiser is willing to pay to determine its effectiveness.
Doesn't it make sense that if they don't care, and it's not effective,
then they won't get any repeat business? Spamming services, like any
other business, depends upon customer satisfaction (if not now, then
eventually). Only the explosion of the net makes this somewhat of a moot
point, as every new non-savvy business coming on line is eager, perhaps
too eager, to get out there. Perhaps CyberPromo types can last awhile by
feeding on those for now. But ultimately, they will have to deliver or
be gone, just like the rest of us. Not soon, but there WILL come a time
when the growth of the net levels off to more in accord with the growth
of the population and the economies of the world.
> >"Cynthia (Sunni) Freyer" wrote:
> >Isn't this
> >how selling in a capitalistic society works? What's
> >legislation got anything to do with it? Let the
> >marketplace respond, which it is clearly doing.
> Bruce Gabrielle replied:
> Capitalism without some government interference has never worked. As
> soon as Capitalism replaced Feudalism in the mid 1700's, it became
> apparent that without government regulation, Capitalists would exploit
> workers and overuse natural resources.
> It's only through legislation that there are minimum wage laws, limits on
> deforestation, restrictions on monopolies, rules barring false
> advertising, fair labelling practices, and even small claims courts. The
> market doesn't always have influence over the sellers.
Isn't the regulation ("government interference") of UCM a far cry from
the need for child labor laws, anti-trust laws, and enhanced fraud laws
(against false labeling and advertising) and the rest? To me, it's a bit
like pointing to a murder, and saying, "See, we need stronger jaywalking
> In this case, the marketplace is responding by demanding legal
> protection. History has shown Capitalists cannot always be counted upon
> to do the right thing.
I simply do not see "the marketplace ... responding by demanding legal
protection". I do see several posts here and there about spam and
wanting laws. But for the most part, there are tens of millions of email
box owners out there from whom I have not seen nor heard even a
measurable fraction. What would amount to that type of demand would be a
class-action lawsuit, with even 10% of those box-owners joining. Now
that would indeed be a "demand".
Meanwhile, it seems we've taken a "non-issue" or "mini-issue" and turned
it into a cause equated with that against deforestation and the
exploitation of the masses. Can a few bits and bytes floating through
cyberspace and landing on someone's virtual doorstep truly be an issue
of such import that we are willing to spend perhaps tens to hundreds of
times more energy, effort, and bits and bytes to discuss it, complain
about it, and in my case, attempt to discount those compaints, than it
would take just to "brush it off"? Especially when the ability to avoid
it altogether seems relatively obvious, easy, and virtually free?
Please understand that I do not, have not, nor have any plan to, use UCM
as a method to market my business. However, I must say...I've been
tempted! If upsetting in such a minor way, as many as 100,000 people was
balanced by assisting even one person to end their poisonous tobacco
habit, and thereby extend and improve the quality of their life and the
lives of those around them, an argument could be made that the end
justified the means.
Let me close by reiterating my close on my previous post on this issue.
I recall a sign in my Republican fatherís real estate office that went
something like this. "The government should not and must not do for the
people what the people should and must do for themselves." -- Abe
Mark Whalen, President
PresMark Publishing Co.
"How to Quit Smoking Without Willpower or Struggle"
*** NEW POST - Opt-in ***
From: Vicki Simons
Subject: Opt-in mailing lists
I'd like to pass on a comment and some information that I received last
week, relating to a recent post in this digest.
Bob Rankin wrote:
> Several people have mentioned success in sponsoring newsletters. I'd like
> to raise the point that targetting is not always the right answer. People
> who sign up for these opt-in lists to receive ads about a certain area of
> interest may get tired of ads for the same (type of) product over and
> > We just tested 5,000 PostMaster Direct opt-in names that had signed
> > up to get news about our product: ZERO response. NADA. NILCH.
> > $300 wasted. And they said we had a great ad ;-)
Being concerned about using any of the opt-in mailing programs, I
visited the site of a popular program several times before contacting
someone by E-Mail. Let me preface the response I received.
First, I have received mail through PostMaster Direct for a number of
months now, and *I* have never purchased any product or service through
one of their ads. (I have, however, visited a few sites as a result of
Second, I want to be able to "narrowcast" to a specific target market.
(I find that while PMD's categories are pretty broad, they have --
during the time I've received their mailings -- split certain
Third, I want to be able to provide superior customer service:
personal, timely, professional, detailed. Accomplishing this objective
would be impossible if my message is sent to too many people at once.
(Autoresponders aren't very personal, and I've found, to date, that
follow-up with people who have requested an autoresponder report has not
During a visit to PostMaster Direct's site, I found that the minimum
order is $200.00 (for a $0.15/name list, that translates into 1,333
recipients!). So, I wrote to email@example.com. I received a
reply from Jennifer Windus concerning the following:
I wanted the ability to target my market:
1. by number of E-Mails received previously (they can do);
2. by geographical location (they cannot do); and
3. by lots of 50 or 100 recipients (they cannot do).
I am interested in knowing:
1. How many readers of this digest have ever purchased a product or
service as a result of receiving an opt-in mailing?
2. What "response rate" has been received by readers who use an
opt-in mailing as a means of advertising? (What was the category, the
service or product offered, etc.?)
3. Besides Glenn Barry , have any readers ever
received an undesirable side-effect from receiving or sending opt-in
Vicki Simons firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.scescape.net/probe
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Subject: Re: The E-Marketing Digest, V2, #15B
We are new to your list and find the information very valuable.
We are looking for 'targeted e-mail list providers'
The people we want to reach are investors in small cap stocks or
stocks in general.
Any help would be very welcome.
May 21, 1997
MURKOWSKI INTRODUCES BILL TO LIMIT UNSOLICITED COMMERCIAL E-MAIL
WASHINGTON -- Saying the Internet is about choices, not
bans, Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski today introduced legislation to
give computer owners an ability to screen out unsolicited
commercial e-mail messages, often call junk e-mail or "spam."
The bill would require senders to label such e-mails as
advertisements so that computer users could request service providers
to screen out all such messages if they wish, or they could ask to be
removed from specific computer mailing lists. Under the law,
providers would have to end further transmissions of the junk e-mail
within 48 hours, once requested. Junk e-mailers would also be
required to use accurate e-mail routing information and not disguise
their messages' routing in an attempt to deceive Internet consumers.
Deceptive Internet routing is often used to avoid the current,
limited methods of blocking that many Internet Service Providers
use to protect their customers.
The bill would give large providers a year to install the
equipment needed to screen out advertisements, while smaller
providers would be given two years to comply. And the bill would
require service providers to cut off service to companies that
send out junk e-mail without the required information.
"The Internet is about choices, not outright bans. I do not
want to set a precedent in banning commercial speech on the
Internet. Unsolicited advertisements are annoying, but I do not
believe that is a basis for an outright ban. A better approach is to
simply ignore them, by filtering them out. If enough Americans
choose to filter out such e-mail messages, I seriously doubt that
anyone will bother to send them out, since the cyberspace market will
no longer be there," said Murkowski, a member of the Congressional
Internet Caucus. Murkowski added "You can ask the Post Office to
stop junk mail from being delivered to your mailbox. Federal law
requires telemarketers to not call you during dinner or in the
middle of the night. Junk faxes were banned by Congressional action
in 1991. It's about time such consumer empowerment was made
available to Internet users."
Murkowski said he elected not to follow the precedent of
the Automated Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, that banned
all unsolicited facsimile transmissions, because the Supreme Court
is currently deciding a case concerning free speech rights on the
Internet and because the Alaskan Republican senator said he felt
Internet users would not welcome a flat ban by government affecting
"I don't believe Americans want government telling them
what they can receive, but they want the right to decide for
themselves," he said.
Murkowski said he is introducing the "Unsolicited Commercial
Electronic Mail Choice Act of 1997 because many Americans don't want
to receive commercial e-mails, especially in rural states like Alaska
where recipients pay not only for Internet access, but also
long-distance phone charges necessary to reach access numbers.
"Given the proliferation of unsolicited e-mail, something
is needed to be done. Junk e-mail is known in the trade by the
derisive term of spam.' Based upon the content of many of these
messages, I'd be insulted if I were an employee of Hormel, the
creator of the real Spam," said Murkowski.
"Not only is junk e-mail an annoyance, but for many
Americans, especially citizens living in rural states like Alaska,
there is a real out-of-pocket cost they must pay to receive these
unsolicited advertisements. When an on-line subscriber in rural
Alaska or Montana logs onto a network server to check for e-mail,
the subscriber must pay a long distance charge. If there is no
e-mail in his on-line mailbox, the subscriber's charge may only
cover a minute.
"However, if there are 25 messages in his mailbox, 24 of
which are unsolicited e-mail ads, his long-distance charges could
triple or quadruple. The user is being forced to pay for the
privilege' of receiving junk mail and then having to waste his
time hitting the delete key to empty this junk out of his mail box,"
The bill does not affect automated mailing lists, e-mails
between friends, or e-mails between businesses and their customers
where there is a pre-existing business relationship. It will require
not only the use of the word "Advertisement" as the first word of the
subject line of any unsolicited commercial e-mail, but also that the
sender include his real address, e-mail address and telephone number
in the body of the message.
Under Murkowski's bill, violators would face the possibility
of legal action from private citizens, state attorney generals and
the Federal Trade Commission, with civil penalties of up to $11,000
per incident. Private recovery per e-mail message in violation of the
act would be limited to $5,000, plus reasonable attorneys fees.
The bill will head to the Senate Commerce Committee for review.
NOTE: Senator Murkowski strongly encourages the Internet
community to make specific recommendations or comments about the
legislation. Please send them to this address:
People wishing to view the full text of the bill can log onto:
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