The Beef on Spam
Where the heck did they get my name? Obviously they think I'm male...maybe Sean A. Mulcahy versus Seana. Maybe it's random. I asked the head of IT in my company a while back. His only message to me was, "Don't ever open any of the messages and don't unsubscribe." Yikes, I already had unsubscribed to a couple. I guess unsubscribing proves it really is a valid email address.
A startling 90 million unsolicited text messages a day are sent to subscribers. For those of us who spend our days being online marketers, this is a more than a moving, but rather a wildly waving red flag. In the recent Federal Trade Commission's spam forum, the sentiment was the realization that this truly is a problem.
However, Masha was at the forum and wrote about it both days. I agree with her when she referenced the lack of agency attendees. Needless to say, the outcome was less than promising. It seems no one could agree on the definition of spam. Aren't we the people who see this stuff the most? I wasn't even invited. Jeesh. The WSJ.com interviewed Eytan Urbas, vice president of MailShell, a Santa Clara, Calif., company that makes spam-fighting software. "We're talking about building consensus to solve the problem, but there isn't a standard definition... It's hard to solve any problem that you can't define." In addition, they released a study that found:
Well, I nearly fell over when I heard those stats (especially the last one). Who are these 8%? Please tell me so I can make sure my campaigns do not hit any of these clueless wonders. And just think about it, everyone has a friend that seems to have waaaay too much time on his or her hands. You know the emails I'm talking about.
Jim Manis, chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association, defined mobile marketing at the Washington hearings. The ads were referenced as "legitimate" and represent a relationship where marketers pay carriers for ads to be displayed on users' wireless devices.
Guess what? The next threat in the spam war is said to be wireless. As an advertiser of wireless campaigns and as a consumer obtaining emails over a mobile office, this scares me more. I've accustomed my email sifting to look at an auto preview mode. In this mode, I can typically see if the message is spam or not. The small screen size and limited view of my mobile phone makes this impossible to do. Inevitably, I've clicked when I should have deleted.
MSN, Yahoo! And AOL has banded together to take on spam from both a hardware and software perspective. This might be the first time these big guys have ever agreed? At this time there is no law to prevent spam. However, this has gotten the attention of a few US senators. Recently, a bill called the CAN-SPAM Act was reintroduced. The bill would make it a federal offence to send spam using false return email addresses.
While this is all well and good, what do we do as advertisers? What do we do as consumers? One look at my deleted folders is enough to make the Pope blush.