Some Quick Notes on Week's News


The FTC decided to do something about spam. The solution takes the form of a conference on email direct marketing to be held April 30 to May 2 “to explore the impact that spam has on consumers’ use of e-mail, email marketing and the Internet industry.” Which doesn’t outwardly appear to resolve the issue – at least not until a few helpful suggestions are implemented:

  • Hold the conference in Pyong Yang

  • Grant exit visas on a case-by-case basis

  • Spammers stuck in the country following the event should be allowed to share the single Unified Republic 300 Baud Modem, with the other 21 million residents.

    Gargantuan Banners

    Half-page ads, a suggestion sarcastically seen on this very page a few months ago, may well become a reality. The New York Times has been making noises about introducing such a unit soon.

    There may be some merit to this idea, especially as it will force sites to redesign their content so as to eliminate the now-ubiquitous clutter of frames full of links squeezing in from all sides. Plus, if you make it large enough, you can claim that it’s no longer a “banner.”



    Presumably, in order to meet stringent size requirements, advertisers would have to employ Flash, so we can expect lots of those useless site intro pages to reappear soon as commensurately useless advertisements.

    Free Shipping Ad Absurdum

    Free shipping has become a complicated affair in e-commerce, sort of like the profusion of “simple” telephone calling plans. Different retailers offer different levels of shipping discounts with differing conditions. wins the award for changing its policy the most frequently. Having received three email messages from them in the past year that use new variations of “free shipping” as the selling proposition, I’ve come up with a fourth they can use. I sent it as a reply to their most recent marketing effort, but – surprisingly – haven’t heard back. It reads as follows:

    Buy nothing at in the next week, and you pay NOTHING. We offer this 100% discount only to special customers and for a limited time. Come and browse our special selection of new titles for which you will not pay anything. We offer an unprecedented selection more than 13 million titles that you can choose not to purchase.

    And as a special offer to people who have found themselves on our myriad mailing lists, we will deduct the shipping charges from your final order. You will pay no shipping!

    Just click on this link here: /suckers/nada.htm to start browsing from our 100% discount list of books you can choose not to buy. Offer, like all others, not valid in Massachusetts.”


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