Online Marketers Say Spam Threat Is Overblown

from the clueless dept

Mitch Wagner at Internet Week is running the final part of his three part series on the “costs” of spam. In the first one, he discussed the IT costs of spam. In the second one, it was the workplace costs of spam such as legal costs and wasted productivity. In the final installment, he lets the spam apologists speak, and explain why the “spam threat is overblown”. They give different reasons for their opinions, some of which are sensible, but none of which really add up. The valid points are: legislation might not be the best answer and filtering technology is better and that anti-spammers sometimes are too aggressive in shutting down legitimate emailers. Of course, even if you agree to both of those points, it has nothing to do with why spam isn’t costly, which was the whole question. One of the guys pulls out one of the most annoying debating tactics out there – saying that there are plenty of other problems in the world that should be taken care of before spam. In other words, if you can’t solve all the world’s problems, why bother solving a single one? The last guy quoted in the article makes an economic argument for why spam doesn’t cost ISPs a thing – saying if it did, they would have passed the cost on to their customers, and since prices haven’t been rising, the conclusion must be that spam costs nothing. This, of course, completely ignores the competitive picture, which has a much bigger impact on pricing than the fixed costs of dealing with spam. Amusingly, two of the three spam apologists have their email addresses published with their quotes. I guess the third guy didn’t want any spam.

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