by Mike Masnick

Spam: The Crack Cocaine Of Modern Advertising

from the it-ain't-easy dept

Nothing all that new in this column, but it does express concisely the real issue behind spam: thanks to a few clueless people who respond to spam the rest of us are much worse off. As the article states (so eloquently): "Spam is the crack cocaine of modern advertising." He points out that "uninformed people are making decisions that affect everyone on the Internet" and suggests we need to do something to stop those people. The question, then, is what? The only idea he comes up with is requiring people to get a "license" to use the internet - which is unlikely to fly.

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  • identicon
    Mikester, 26 Mar 2004 @ 10:11am


    The only real long term solution is to make sure the education system (K-12) is embedding 'best practices' of using the internet in our children so that they'll be wise to these marketing schemes. Obviously this doesn't help us in the near term, but there really isn't an efficient way to educate the public at large. The media stories about spammers and scammers certainly don't seem to be doing much

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 26 Mar 2004 @ 10:45am

    spammers adapt

    Spammers unfortunately adapt their methods, and if people stop responding to the current types of spam, almost all of which are obviously bogus, the spammers will just make their pitches look more believable, e.g. by pointing to web sites purporting to be testimonials or even government endorsements of their products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kelly, 26 Mar 2004 @ 12:24pm

    the idiot tax

    Ah, but wait - the wise Arnold Kling proposes the following:

    Perhaps we should think about the issue differently. The problem is that businesses pay spammers to send spam. Presumably, they do this because it is profitable. Presumably, this is because there are woodheads out there who buy goods and services from spammers.

    Perhaps instead of trying to attack the problem by going after spammers, what we should be doing is going after the woodheads. It is almost impossible to enforce a law against sending spam. So we should try to pass a law against responding to spam.

    What I propose is that any American who makes a purchase based on unsolicited email be fined $10,000 and jailed for 30 days. The law would be enforced by undertaking random audits of companies that are successful at attracting business by using spam. The law would be highly publicized by internet service providers and corporate CIO's, who have a strong interest in reducing the volume of spam. Thus, everyone with an Internet account would be on notice that purchasing from a spammer can get you in trouble.

    If we can deter Americans from responding to spam, then spammers will stop routing spam to domains in the U.S. That's my solution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      thecaptain, 26 Mar 2004 @ 12:56pm

      Re: the idiot tax

      I'd rather go after the companies who pay spammers...always follow the money.

      Fine them per spam sent. Hundreds each maybe...payable to recipients.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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