Spam Is Just A Byproduct Of Our Media-Saturated World?

from the spam-apologists dept

There have been more and more spam apologists coming out of the woodwork lately. They all seem to miss the point. The latest is an opinion piece from a lawyer bringing up the usual argument that if people just deleted spam, it wouldn’t be such a problem. He suggests that everywhere we go, we’re inundated with advertisements and we learn to tune it out, so why can’t we just tune out spam as well? Leaving aside the very real technology costs associated with spam, the issue is the fact that this spam is coming directly into our in-boxes, where it is intrusive. Other forms of advertising, for the most part, are not so intrusive. Furthermore, other forms of advertising come in manageable sizes. When 95% of your email is spam, there’s suddenly a very real problem in digging out the legitimate mail and not accidentally losing legitimate emails. Also, most spam is blatantly misleading. With ads in newspapers, I know what I’m looking at, and I know what to expect. There are rules (not always followed) that prevent newspaper ads from looking like editorial content. That’s not the case with spam. There is a very real difference between spam and the “media saturation” he discusses in the article. The fact that a (supposedly) tech savvy lawyer can’t understand the difference between intrusive advertising that encroaches the personal space of a mechanism used to communicate, and passive advertising used in a one-way medium is unfortunate. People use their phone and their email to communicate. They’re two way mechanisms that are increasingly essential. One way, broadcast “push” mechanisms are different. They are passive media, where the person is there to “consume”. Two-way, communications media are much more involved and personal and the user has a reasonable expectation of control over the communication at hand. Spam (and telemarketing, and junk faxes) violate that space.

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Comments on “Spam Is Just A Byproduct Of Our Media-Saturated World?”

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DL says:

The Difference Between Spam and Advertising

Advertising on TV or radio or in magazines supports the medium, (in theory) lowering the cost to the consumer. No one will ever be able to convince me that receiving spam is defraying the costs of my email, unless the spam comes exclusively from my ISP (in which case I’d switch to another ISP).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Difference Between Spam and Advertising


EXCELLENT argument. That’s hit the nail right on the head, and it’s a point I’d like to see spamvertisers refute.

Of course, them spamming does make the cost of internet in Nigeria cheaper, becuase of all the competitors coming in to offer cheap internet access via cafe …

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