Spamalot

Are some of the Spam Cures Worse than the Disease?

That the headline of the lead story in the latest WinXPnews. They go on to mention the large number of reader emails they get and how few of them they actually have time to personally answer, and how, when they do take time to answer, they are hit with the “Go to this website and be verified to send an email to this address”. Inevitably, they don’t do it. I don’t do it either. Here’s the thing, if you use one of these services, and you send an addess to a writer, or even just an every day blogger like myself, at least have the decency to whitelist my address from the get-go if you expect a response from me! Don’t write me, expecting a response, and then make me jump through hoops to send it to you! I won’t.

But this is just one example where some anti-spam measures have simply gone too far. Believe me, I know all about the problems created by junk email, I spend part of every day dealing with the incoming junk and tweaking our Postini settings and redirects to try and get rid of as much junk as possible without losing good email in the process. On the other hand, I work for a membership organization that sends email newsletter to it’s members. (People who have asked to get our email!) I see both sides of the problem. I see the ton of junk email coming in and I see the number of people who never get our emails because they are bulk-mailed and their email systems assume it must be spam. Simply adding a tax to that newsletter means we probably stop sending it. How is that beneficial? How is allowing people who disagree or compete with us the right to complain about spam and get us blacklisted helping matters? How is making it harder to communicate using email helping things at all?

Not that I’m saying we shouldn’t have these tools. I have them, I use them and I enjoy them. But, if you’re going to have these tools, make them work for you, not against you and the people you’re trying to communicate with. If your ultimate desire is to only get email that you want, at least take the time to make sure your anti-spam measures aren’t blocking that email, or making it too difficult to send you email. Eventually, if it’s too difficult, people will stop sending you email and you will end up getting no value from your email account at all.

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