Helpful Hints & Companies to help your Customers

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Anti-Spam Zealots who went to the FTC Spam For...

Posted: 2005-09-19T00:40:23Z


The Anti-Spam Zealots who went to the FTC Spam Forum by John Calder

On the three days from April 30 through Friday, May 2, 2003,
the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) held a "Spam Forum" in
Washington, D.C.

According to the FTC website, the purpose of this forum was
"to address the proliferation of unsolicited commercial e-mail
and to explore the technical, legal, and financial issues
associated with it."

While the FTC and other government entities try to figure out
how they can legally address the Spam issue, they are doing so
without consulting with those of us who run small businesses
online. Of the 97 people who spoke at the forum, the majority
was technicians and lawyers who represent the ISP's and
Anti-Spam companies. A few of the people even represented
large bulk email companies.

Forum participants could not even agree on a proper definition
of "spam" --- yet they propose that they are the best qualified
to help write the laws that will eliminate spam?

My question is this, who represented the small business owner
and the small publishers at the FTC spam forum? No one really.
It was not because the small business segment did not have
representatives willing to speak on their behalf. In fact,
both and --- both of whom represent
small online businesses --- had petitioned to have their
representatives speak at the forum, but both were turned

You can read the list of the people who DID speak at the FTC
"Spam Forum" at:

Should you honestly believe the anti-spam profiteers had your
interests in mind when they had the opportunity to speak to
the FTC?

Here are some of the anti-spam profiteers who found
representation at the FTC "Spam Forum":

Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS)
SpamCon Foundation
The Spamhaus Project

Even in the hallowed lists of the anti-spam zealots, the
profiteers aren't taken very seriously sometimes. When
addressing Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., CEO of Habeas, Inc.,
a member of the SPAM-L list suggested:

"What makes you think that 'we' trust Habeas any more than
any other organisation whose business model depends on
spam continuing to exist in order to stay in business."

Good point.

William Waggoner, founder of AAW Marketing LLC in Las Vegas,
Nevada, did actually support my own point of view. He suggested
at the "Spam Forum" that technology techniques like spam
filtering hurts even legitimate email marketers!

You know whom Mr. Waggoner was talking about. He was talking
about those e-mail marketers who have actually acquired
permission from the email recipient to send them commercial

When someone in the forum audience laughed at his comment,
Waggoner fired back, "You think that's funny?"

So why did they laugh? This gets to the heart of why the FTC
Spam Forum was bad news for the legitimate email marketer. Many
anti-spam zealots do not believe that there is such a thing as
"legitimate commercial email!"

TERM: Double Opt-in - Requires a subscriber to request a
subscription and then to verify the intention to subscribe
by following a defined procedure.

Even if publishers who now require "double opt-in"
subscriptions were to ask for and keep records of "quadruple
opt-in" verifications from their subscribers, a lot of
anti-spam zealots would still cry foul!

Why else would the terms *s*u*b*s*c*r*i*b*e* and *u*n*s*u*b-
*s*c*r*i*b*e* be included in many spam filters with the implied
suggestion that email that carries this terminology MUST be

It does no good to be able to prove double opt-in to the ISP's
and the anti-spam zealots. Most presuppose that any commercial
email is likely to be spam.

The ISP's are honestly concerned with the cost of bandwidth in
association with email. Estimates have put the monthly cost of
spam to be $3 per month per email account. Thus, if ISP's can
reduce or eliminate spam, they can reduce their costs and
improve their profits.

ISP's who oppose all commercial email --- you know, the kind
who laugh at the suggestion that spam filters hurt "legitimate
email marketers" --- think one step further. They believe that
if they can eliminate all commercial email, then they can
significantly reduce their costs and significantly improve
their profits!

At every level of the Internet food-chain, people are concerned
with their own profits. The anti-spam zealots, who had the most
pronounced representation at the FTC spam forum, will profit
handsomely from the loss of commercial email... Or will they?

Without commercial enterprise on the Internet, will people
still be flocking to the web in the numbers they are today?

Recognizing the fact that the filtering industry is destroying
email commerce, people like Anne P. Mitchell of Habeas, Inc. have
come running to the assistance of online commercial businesses.
For a price, Habeas will "whitelist" your publication or email
--- or should I say for a hefty price, Habeas will "whitelist"
your email!

TERM: Whitelist - This is a kind of filter that suggests that
any email that meets the whitelist definitions will be
pre-verified (under the terms of the whitelist company)
as legitimate commercial email.

Habeas purports to offer a "value-added service" that will help
your outgoing email reach its destination unobstructed. Habeas
also purports its fees to be very reasonable --- up to $500 per
mailing list per year. Is $500 really a "reasonable" price? I
don't think so.

As consumers, we always think of the "spam war" as something
that addresses the unsolicited email from the p*o*r*n industry,
the nutritional products industry, and other fly-by-night

Yet, when the people who are speaking on our behalf in the
halls of government think of the "spam war", they are thinking
of something else entirely. In fact, they are attempting to
remove the cash from the pockets of not only the spammers, but
also the small business people who employ legitimate email
marketing techniques.

Why do so many anti-spam zealots target all commercial email?
Simple, they want to put the cash where THEY think it belongs
--- into their own pockets!

About the Author
John Calder is the owner/editor of The Ezine Dot Net. Subscribe Today and get real information YOU can use to help build your online business today! http://www.TheEzine.Net

The Ezine DOT Net RSS feeds are available.

(You may reprint this article in full in your newsletter and/or web site)


Post a Comment

<< Home