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Here is a sampling of the opinions we have received here at Netcheck
in regards to Unsolicited Email

We encourage you to voice your opinion.
You can use the contact form link above.

It's remarkable to find such an intelligent, egalitarian view of the commercial development of the 'net.

You're right!

The big players in commerce with their major web attractions, their huge ad budgets and tie-ins with access providers such as MSN, MCI, AT&T, and on-line services such as AOL, etc., will soon 'black out' small business on the web. Cyberspace, which holds so much promise for small business, will be reduced to the same banality and brand name triteness of the broadcast media.

And small cyber business will be hung out to dry like their counterparts on Main street.

In sum, spamming may be a problem -the result of a few- but unsolicited e-mail, with a truthful "From", "To" and "Remove", provides opportunity for the many with legitimate products and services, and diversity, savings and serendipity for the public.

Stuart Sloves

The root of the problem about UBE is the fundamental question as how to keep the balance between the freedom of speech and the right to privacy. Probably there is many good solution to the UBE, many that is no technological challenge. I’d like to believe that even my idea how to solve this problem, is a good one. The first decision however not how to solve it but who should solve the problem? May I invite you to visit my Web and cast your vote?

Zsolt Zsofka

On the subject of unsolicited email -- the "net" must remain a free domain for the exchange of ideas and commerce. Every person should be able to be removed from email lists upon request, but we must not limit any business from contacting potential customers with new products or services.  Simply counting on people to locate your website could mean disaster for a business new to the web.  There are just too many sites to search through. Business owners must be allowed to call attention to their sites through the use of email. Remember the USPS does not prevent direct mail solicitation and for anyone to suggest that this should be done for email is ridiculous. If a person receives an email from an unrecognized source it is just as easy to delete it unread as it is to throw away junk snail mail unread.

Thanks for letting me air my opinion and keep up the good work!

Neil Jordan

Hello !

Let me preface what follows by saying that ... If you think the article below is on target -- which was written to discredit the scurrilous tactics of groups such as "CAUCE" in their fight against Commerce on the Internet -- you will want to ask me to send you a copy of an article written to Bill Gates regarding his stance in the matter of so-called "Unsolicited Commercial Email" ... which could turn out to be the greatest among futile wars fought by misguided men, on this planet.  For as 'the-ride-of-Paul-Revere' was superseded by the post office, so will the post office be made redundant by the Internet.

Now, if only people could grasp the inevitability of that situation, they would save each other and society-at-large the pains of needless wars ... Would they not?  In the case of the needless war being fought over the commercial use of the Internet, our energies would be much better spent devising means to make the Internet usable by all, with due respect to all -- without trying to make the wishes of one segment of society the rule by which all should live -- all over the world. It is time those who fight against 'the inevitable' to be told the facts -- lest they cause unnecessary curtailment of our freedoms to suit their selfish wishes for society.

Like, most people on the Internet I receive commercial email I do not want.  In the worst case -- some are from pornographers.  As soon as I recognize them, I delete them -- in exactly the same way I treat other emails I do not want.  Yet, somewhere within the total mix of emails, there is usually something I can use which I am appreciative that someone sent: and for that reason alone, I do not want any single individual or groups of individuals on this planet banding together to formulate laws that will restrict the free flow of information via the Internet.  For in trying to satisfy their own petty dislikes for something they may not want or cannot use, they seek to cause the enactment of laws that will deny the greater multitudes of people on this planet, the freedom to receive information that could be valuable to them.

As long as our society must have public means for disseminating information, no segment of society, whatever their collective wishes and/or dislikes, should be allowed to enact, or else cause to be enacted, any laws that restrict the right of other indiviuals to disseminate or to receive information, even if it is commercial in nature and content -- and please!  Toss out that useless and smelly 'red-herring' -- namely, the one about "unsolicited commercial email" costing you money when you receive it.  It is time to bury that rotten piece of misinformation.  For the fact is that, in life, it costs money even to pay your taxes ... let alone to use services which are clearly within the public domain.  So consider that cost as ... more tax ... and be prepared to pay it as long as you use societies services, however much you hate paying taxes.  You are not alone!

Thus, whatever personal costs one chooses to associate with receiving so-called "unsolicited commercial email", they are subject to the far greater social issues at stake arising out of the fostering of a public ban on commercial emailing on the Internet.  For even in the case of pornography -- which, incidentally, a lot of those engaged in promoting a ban on commercial emailing on the Internet do not find offensive within our societies -- I give all "commercial-email haters" this one option.  Like commerce and pornography which seem to go hand-in-hand, tolerate the advertising of both on the Internet, or else, remove both from society ... if you think you can.  If you cannot accomplish that task, then do nothing to tamper with the universal right of everyone to disseminate and/or receive any and all types of information over the Internet.  In other words, separate that which is pornographic in commerce from that which is acceptable commerce; and throw out the dirty 'bath-water' after washing the 'baby' ... but leave the 'baby' alone.   With that in mind, please examine, the following article, carefully --

The Bulk-emailer's Defense:

On a planet where people have disparate needs to be met by different means, whose food and whose mail is ... "junk" ?   By what corrupt and self-serving law, devised within the souls of  self-righteous men, does anyone on this planet refer to what is food for another as junk?  Such are the people who stand in the way to deny others the right to "food" they could use or must have -- on the pretext that that which is fit or necessary for another is "junk" because one cannot make use of it.  So these self-righteous men band together in the name of "CAUCE".   They seek to show just cause by enlisting men to make laws in support of their 'cauce'.  That is the cause which they hope to make into a universal law for all men to abide by, on the Internet.  Can men make a universal law by which we should all live, that will be just to all -- and that will not deny others their 'unalienable' rights and freedoms?  Surely! -- the congress of men shall make no such law"!

Supposedly, the acronym "CAUCE" stands for the ... "Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email".  The only validity any organization could have that seeks to make one law for all men for banning that which they do not want from those who could make use of it, is if man was indeed capable of devising a universal law that would satisfy the needs of all.   Since such a device is not possible, then, inevitably, whenever men seek to restrict the freedom of others on the basis of their own preferences, the result is the denial of something to someone -- and that is repulsive, repugnant, and just plain unacceptable in a free society of free men.  Yet, this situation persists  because, by their conditionings, self-serving men become slaves to their own cultures which prevent them from deferring to the needs of others.   Thus, another man's food is regarded as "junk" -- when seen through the myopic vision of the self-righteous.   Surely! -- "man shall not live by bread alone" is a fact -- but the rest of the living that man does is done by commerce in all aspects of life: and, inevitably, that 'living' must be extended to the Internet in unfettered freedom ... unless fools are allowed to persuade other men to make laws against it, to deny others their free enterprise. Yet, man's laws are only valid when they defer to the universal laws of his creator.

In order to justify their positions, the agents of "CAUCE" devise deceptive arguments based on material costs that must never take precedence over the universal freedoms and rights of people to use the societal facilities available to them for meeting their just needs -- if men in their own self-sufficiency do not, by their self-righteousness, label that which may be food for others, as ... "junk".   No! ... "CAUCE".  Your selfish cause is unjust.   The law of universality which is the facilitator for all men will not let you prevail -- for the same reason that slavery of any kind on this planet lasts only for a time -- until men come to their senses and abolish it so that the rights and freedoms of men, that their creator subsists, will prevail in spite of such aberrations as "CAUCE".

Authored by:   H. Baldwin Jones, Canada
[Released for general distribution]

I can understand that isp's are against sending massive amounts of email because of the potential to jam up their servers with undeliverables, and most of all, the wrath of a few net terrorists that bomb their servers repeatedly.  With new technology, a lot of the undeliverables are being done away with.  A responsible mailer who wants to honor remove requests cannot make their real isp known lest losing a dialup account.  So this is really a catch 22...  Either responsibly mail and lose your account, or mail with the use of somewhat unethical practices.  And hope.  Commerce on the net is not going to go away.  We all need to learn how to coexist in a positive, and responsible manner.

J Keele

I only have two complaints about SPAM. The first one is when I receive their email and it says that if I want to discontinue their advertisements that I should call this phone number. It is always a long distance call and there is no email address listed to contact them and the reply will never send them an email. It always bounces back. The second complaint is when I receive SPAM without any phone number to cancel their advertisements and the return email address is not valid and they only have a 900 number that also cost to contact them. They give an email address to cancel their advertising, but it does not work. There should be a law prohibiting "blind" or missing return email addresses and there should also be a law requiring them to furnish an email address to discontinue their advertising that works.

Floyd Petri

Yes unsolicited e-mail is a problem to some but doesn't it take less time to hit the delete button than to file a complaint about how junk mail wastes your time. This form of contact will subside just like junk mail from the Postal Service has gone down. Be patient and it will all be over before you know it. Can't we all just get along.

Eric Tomalak

As the owner of a small software development/website production firm I am very interested in the debate surrounding commercial solicitation via email. We haven't yet sent out any advertising emails but would like to for a variety of good reasons. Email is very inexpensive and a great way for us to communicate with current and future customers. I propose that all commercial email have "AD" or some other standard flag on the subject line. This would let users set up inbox rules that automatically delete junk email or reply with an unsubscribe to stop further email from that company. It would also allow customers who appreciate learning about new products via email continue to receive this information.

Michael Coon -- President
MC2 Consulting, Inc.

I believe that you are creating a great service. Although I agree spamming is a problem, more importantly I belive people should have the right to send solicated mail with some rules attatched. Perfectly defined in you rule book.

I look at this issue in some way the same as regular mail. People receive regular mail in thier mail box everyday from companies trying to sell them a product or service. THAT IS GENERALLY EXCEPTED. Now, why are some people upset with the same principle being applied to e-mail? I think it is the simple fact that they are likely to receive 10 times more unsolicited mail than they are regular mail. Of which most of them can be considered junk because there are very little cost involved.

I REALLY BELIEVE THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T MIND RECEIVING INFORMATIVE MATERIALS - Afterall, that is what makes us interested as humans.

NOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT I THINK IS THE PROBLEM - which is the much higher volume of solicited mail being received. We need to take care of that issue which is ( the high # of unsolicited mail) AND NOT the idea of solicited mail itself. So how do we cut down on the amount of unsolicited mail while at the same time, not deeming solicited mail illegal?

Well my answer is just about the mirrored image of what you defined as solicited mail, which is if someone complains about receiving the same solicited mail from the same sender more than once. Then that certainly falls into the abuse category. Pay close attention to the word SAME- and what I mean is that if a person or company is offering more that one product/service, they have every right to send a second solicitation on a completely different product just as the did with the first product. You cannot draw a distinction, unless the receipient specifically says that he/she does not want to receive any solications from that domain.

In a nutshell it is not solicitation that's the problem it's the abuse of the solicitation process.

Otis Apollo

There are a myriad of reasons why unsolicited commercial e-mail is offensive. Proponents wonder why people can't just shut up and hit the "delete" key instead of lashing out with a complaint. They fail to realize that recipients are paying, directly or indirectly, for this material. This is akin to receiving junk e-mail at the post office, BUT WITH POSTAGE DUE. Would you telemarket by calling me collect?

I was in Japan for a month last year, and had to rely on an Internet Cafe to check my e-mail. We all know how strong the yen is! I checked my e-mail after a week of inactivity, and was stunned by all the crap in my e-mail box. Believe me, when you're paying big bucks for 30 minutes of access, and you spend the first 10 of those minutes wading through piles of crap, it gets to be more than a little offensive. I felt my blood boiling, and if I could have gotten my hands on the spammers...

Also, some people do pay for volume of information. Some are connected via UUCP dial-up lines, some long distance, and the more information that comes down the wire, the longer the site stays connected, and the higher the costs are involved. Or perhaps the person is located in a foreign country (such as Japan), who have to pay a per minute charge of even local calls.

There's also the issue of cost of resources. I am the system administrator for an Internet server at a school board, and believe me, money is tight. But with our mail spools filling up with spam, what alternative do we have than to buy an additional hard drive with real dollars -- dollars that might not have had to be spent *this* year if a bunch of slimy weasels with dollars in their eyes hadn't have sent spam to a good percentage of our users? As a result, our taxes go up. The same thing goes with the university I attend. More purchases of capital equipment also result in higher tuition fees and higher taxes.

Finally, there's the issue of my time. Sorry, but it's worth money, and I don't like wasting either. I open up my regular post office box, and I grab the handful of trash, with the costs bourne *entirely* by the advertiser, and toss it in the recycling bin, costs me little effort (it *is* annoying but the fact the sender is solely responsible for paying for it is reassuring). But receiving e-mail messages involves having to wade through piles of stuff, essentially "opening the envelope" each time before realizing I don't want any part of it. Sometimes, the spammers are quite talented at hiding the essence of their gameplan until you're a number of screens into the message. There's also the time I waste by attempting to have myself "removed" (as if that ever works) from the lists by sending off a complaint -- only to find, in many cases, that the complainee is not reachable because they have made efforts to conceal their return address. It's funny how the weasels have no problems dishing it out, but don't like to hear the resultant complaints.

I will continue to vehemently oppose unsolicited commercial e-mail, and will respond appropriately whenever I receive one in my mailbox. I won't hesitate to complain to the Better Business Bureau, or contact the spammer's ISP or their upstream providers. I will also continue to look for ways of building up group support to convince politicians that laws are needed to allow these people to be punished for their actions.

I hope I have gotten through to potential future spammers, but I'm not holding my breath over it.

S. Frampton

Being new to the Internet community, I had no idea how rude and vulgar some people could be. After e-mailing a few people about a service that I truly feel could help them, I have been reported, harrassed, and verbally abused! I guess that receiving hundreds of unsolicited e-mail advertisements could become a nuisance, but really! My simple three line request to look at information was not intended to insult anyone. I receive unsolicited phone calls, faxes, and mail every day, but I have never been rude or vulgar to anyone, even the most persistent ones. If the internet is to be a medium of free speech, as I'm sure those who so freely use vulgarities hope it continues to be, then it must remain free.


Brian Cheek

Dear Netcheck:

This is in response to your request for opinions concerning unsolicited e-mails and spams.

At our company we observe a strict policy against spamming that is plain and simple:

  • 1. We do not spam individual e-mail addresses.
  • 2. We do not spam newsgroups.
  • We view it as a matter of common etiquette. We believe that unsolicited e-mail and newsgroup spams (like unsolicited telemarketing telephone calls) are inappropriate and rude. Just because it might be legal and profitable does not make it right! We prefer to earn our profits in a more honorable fashion.

    We maintain a guestbook on our WWW site. Visitors are encouraged to leave as much or a little information as they please about themselves. We respect the confidentiality of that information and we never release it to anyone. Our guestbook serves to help us better know our internet friends. We will occasionally e-mail and/or snail mail to those who have signed our guestbook when we have information that we believe will be of particular interest to them. Naturally, we would immediately remove anyone from our guestbook upon request (although we have never had a request to do so.)

    Richard Kramer

    Dear Netcheck,

    I am glad to see someone taking a honest look at the issues behind spamming. I along with most other people get many unsolicited e-mails every day and dislike "wasting my time" reading unwanted mail. One thing that people don't think about, is the fact that they don't have to read the mail. I have yet to see a computer that doesn't have a delete button. Taking a good look and compare the mass e-mail and the bulk mailings that companies do all of the time. I have never head the public cry outcry as much for the bulk mailing as I have about mass e-mailings. Other than the fact that they are paid advertisements, the flyers that are put into the newspapers everyday are just as annoying. Still most people just throws those away.

    As long as we have Constitutional freedoms and wish to retain these freedoms, we will have to put up with advertising. If it is done in a tasteful and polite manner without attempting to defraud people it is something that we can allow. Understanding that as the world gets more technical, mass mailings either electronic or conventional will become more common, and since I can always 'throw away' anything that I do not wish to read, I would rather retain our freedoms than to sacrifice them on something as petty as spamming.

    Thank You,
    Kevin Kimball

    Some people have to pay for each incoming email message. This is especially true outside of the United States, for example in Australia. Many others have to pay for connect time, and downloading a large number of advertisements could be expensive. This is the real reason why email advertising is wrong, rather than merely annoying. I am disappointed by your stand on this issue.

    Also, advertising is generally accepted on Usenet, provided that these conditions are met:

  • 1. The message is on-topic in the selected newsgroup.
  • 2. It is only posted one time. (not every week)
  • 3. It is free of marketing hype.
  • There is an article in news.announce.newusers which gives more information.

    David Radcliffe

    Did you know that? Unless there is criminality involved, to send unsolicited e-mail, it should be treated just as regular mail is. Thus, if offensive, and unprotected by the First Amendment, as in sexually- oriented matter, then there may be a balancing test to see if restricting same is in order, but even if it isn't, the receiver can merely toss it into the trash, as many noteworthy justices have written and opinionated.

    I don't know where the issue of unsolicited e-mail and spamming came about, but most people like getting e-mail. Those who subscribe to too many mailing lists, however, without knowing how to properly unsubscribe may be part of the cause of this commotion.

    Submitted With No Name

    I believe the entire subject of "mass email" as ridiculous and petty. If you can't handle the heat then get out of the kitchen. I've received "unwanted ... junk ... crap ... " you know what from the United States Postal Service for over 35 years and never ONCE did I consider shooting the postman or wasting the time to answer all the junk.

    ANY intelligent person should know if you ONCE order any junk from a junk magazine, then your on this list for ever! So, if you can't handle the mail....then don't "Mail Order!"

    I've sent mail to specific web sites I've found that I believe would be interested in my services. But about 1 out of every 200 I find through pain-staking hours of searching has to be a total asshole! It makes me want to "internet stalk" them for the next 10 years. Don't these people have anything to do other than complain to every Tom Dick and Harry they can complain to?


    As it's best said...If you can't run with the Big Dogs, then stay on the porch!

    David W. Bolick

    We use email solicitation to notify computer merchandise sellers and buyers about our service. This is an important function for us because it directly informs our target market about our benefits.

    Incidentally we may solicit one address more than once. Often, we hear about it, usually in graphic language.

    We quickly apologize and list them on our "do not contact" list.

    Sometimes, we get an apology back and maybe even make a friend.

    The problem seems to be insensitive businesses who send multiple unwanted solicitations, and don't even respond to our requests not to be bothered. This makes all of us boil.

    A case in point might be the largest software company, who, in releasing a new internet product sent no fewer than 6 notices to our business. These were duplicate messages knowingly sent to the same address. Multiply that by a hundred businesses and it becomes impossible to do anything but discard junk mail.


    One Of The Last Great Stands To Speak Freely To One Another, Unsolicited Email

    The Criminal, Main Stream Press & Big Business, The Politician, and the Do-Gooder against the Citizen!!!

    In the forty  plus years I have been alive I have seen much, and much of it not good when it comes to our rights. When I was young I walked through the streets and was taught to be friendly, say  hi and great those that would be on the street with me. That everyone should put forth an effort to meet each other, meet the new arrivals that moved in on your block and let them know they were  welcomed  in the neighborhood.

    Now we listen to the Main Stream Press, The Politician, and the Do-gooder our teachers at school, etc.… And we’re told that because the criminal element is on the loose you cannot trust anyone and especially the stranger.  Their ultimate goal means to lock your doors and keep to your immediate family since everyone else is a stranger.

    Because we listened to this we have given further to criminal control and sheltered ourselves away. Only to find, we know less as a group by closing out the stranger and has allowed the powers that run our world to control us further.

    We should have fought back and made the powers in-charge fix it with more and more law, I do not mean laws, and force  them to do their job and drive the criminal element out. Yet we did not!

    Now theses same groups are at it again, just when we citizens have broken free with a new medium, the Internet. The Internet will make it possible to talk to everyone in the world openly, sharing with each other our good news or bad. The Internet makes its easy for the businessmen  to share globally, product knowledge and offer each other savings with advertisements. Then here they come again to take it away!!!

    I,  now at over forty, have to think  that all these groups must be in bed together,  plotting to take control of us and destroy our free society. How much more must we shelter ourselves away or give up to those that control, as they  continue to neglect and dissolve our freedoms in this our  Free Society. 

    If you take away the right to use Unsolicited Email, then you take away the right to send a message to anyone. Unsolicited Email is the right to mail somebody  you don’t know a message.  It could be a health warning , a special offering to senior citizens, an update to events that are just around the corner or a new business offer or job opportunity and on and on. It’s our right to meet a stranger, or ask someone we don’t know for help. This is the heart of  a free society where one person unknown to another can talk or meet and through their meeting grow an understanding.. To give up this right is to say that you can’t call someone  you don’t know or walk up to and knock on any door and ask for help or show them something they hadn’t seen. Unsolicited Email is that same right using computers and the Internet to communicate. The right of a businessman in one part of the world to offer his or her goods to someone new in another part of the world electronically.

    You must not let the powers that control us the ability to take this right away from any citizen if we are to keep free speech within a  free society. This right on the Internet is the same right used everyday in society. It’s called Free Speech and on the Internet it is called Unsolicited Email. Just another way of communicating to each other.

    If someone contacts or solicits you the first time and upon this contact you feel you are not interested or want them to go away. Then they should! If you tell them never to contact you again.  Again, they should!

    Now here is where it gets mixed up and misunderstood. After you have contacted a person or place, group etc. and they have asked not to hear from you again and you continue to contact them regardless of their wishes. This is now considered a crime, a crime of harassment. This is no longer Unsolicited Email at this point. What this person is doing now is harassment.  Nothing more, nothing less.

    The person that breaks this right and uses harassment is now a criminal and should be prosecuted according to the law. Laws that are already passed for this crime. Know ask yourself, does their need to be more laws written on harassment?  Isn’t this what were talking about? Isn’t spam or spamming just a word for harassment?  If this is what were talking about, which it is, then what is spam or spamming? Nothing!! Then who is the anti-spammer that wants it stopped? That’s right……. It’s The Criminal, Main Stream Press & Big Business, The Politician, and the Do-Gooder against the Citizen!!!

    Fight back!!! Stop the crime and Save our Freedoms.  Stop the anti-spammer who would make up words like spam and spammer. Place these words on those that would use Unsolicited Email, then call these words a crime. Then the anti-spammer uses this so called imaginary crime to further their goals by adding more bogus laws to the books.  Laws that would remove our ability to freely communicate with every citizen. Laws that cannot nor should not be there.  Fight back and in doing so you’ll insure your rights to free speech through Unsolicited Email. Keep your stake in citizen rights within this powerful new medium, The Internet.

    Stop and ask yourself who is an anti-spammer? Where did he or she come from? What is his or her purpose? Why did they create these names? What will they get for doing this? You will see quickly that this is about your rights and control of your freedoms. These freedoms and rights in exchange for billions and billions of dollars, maybe even trillions, in profits. Profits created from you for giving up this freedom.  Profits you the citizen will be giving directly to Big business right out of your pockets.

    This plot, if achieved by the anti-spammers, will bring a blanket of unjust laws and lawsuits. Laws that will insure only Big Business having these rights, hidden within a mask of red tape exclusively for their use under another assumed name chosen by them. Then they will charge us by placing toll fees or tariffs on this name, and calling it a service we must pay for. Fees, like that of a postal stamp placed on an email between you and anyone else on the net, or charges from your local ISP per megabyte of data sent or both.

    You can not imagine all the ways they intend to charge you "The Citizen" if this happens.  Fight for your rights as a Citizen! We can not afford to let this happen! Unsolicited Email is EVERYONE’S CURRENT RIGHT!!  It’s virtually FREE and it should stay this way. Don’t lose your rights on the Internet to the anti-spammers that would then use it for profit, paid for by you and your freedoms.

    Speak out!  Help stop these Anti-spammers from this terrible and costly plot against the Citizen!  Stop them from placing words like spam and the spammer on us, our rights, then calling it a crime.

    As a citizen support putting those that would distort the truth, sell away our freedoms, lie and cheat for profit and destroy personal property of other citizens in jail.  The anti-spammers are guilty right now of all of these crimes and more. The anti-spammer is fearless in breaking laws and committing crimes to reach his or her goal of taking our freedoms away within the Internet. Fulfilling there greed for profit and control. Just ask the major backbone providers currently hiding and conforming to there demands by not allowing Unsolicited Email even though its not illegal.

    The injustice being done to Unsolicited Email is now  widespread brought on by anti-spammers through their ongoing criminal attacks of Internet terrorism, sabotage, and blackmail. These attacks have been fueled by big business to stop the vendor, small businessmen, and you the everyday citizen from ever realizing the full power of your rights within the Internet. Rights like talking to anyone anywhere in the world with lights, sounds, animations, video, TV, phone and more at a fraction of what it costs in any other medium anywhere today. That combined  with the ability to transact business  right down to the transfer of money, goods and or services makes the Internet an untamed international market place that big business, and big business alone, wants to control and make everyone else their meal ticket. The Internet is the most powerful global medium, yet devised, available for all to use. This medium must not be controlled and ran by big business as a way of extorting money from all citizens. Save our first amendment right of Free Speech by insuring our rights to use Unsolicited Email and keep the net open to everyone.

    Don’t forget, someday you may need to talk to a stranger or show someone you never meet what you have to sell or call on someone you don’t know for help. We can never, I mean never, give up our rights as average citizens to freely share our products or goods together, or tell our stories to one another, or ask for help or directions from a stranger in our home town or in a foreign land.  We can never give up this right if we are ever going to keep our freedoms intact within our free society. Please support Keeping the Right for Unsolicited Email!  One Of The Last Great Stands to Speak Freely To One Another.

    Ken Welch

    In regards to "spamming" or unwanted/unsolicited email...It is my experience that advertising on the major search engines and commercial advertising spots can be done for zip, nada, "0". So, that as an excuse to spam or use email to advertise to me really doesn't hold up. Any thoughts on that perspective?

    -Arthur Bouchard-

    Thank you very much for your enlightening debate about e-mail and spam. To begin with, I have sent out one message at a time to an individual and I have only sent it once. Never bothering the person again, unless they ask for more information.

    However, this works both ways, apparently someone did not appreciate my mail. They have some program that can send e-mail special. I received 74 of the message that I sent to someone. The To and From address was the same. The person that I work under also received the same e-mail only 40+ not 74, all with my e-mail address as to and from. I also have been subscribed to several e-mail digests that I did not subscribe to and I do not know how to get off of them. They are Cyberpunks and something about censorship.

    Please keep up the good work about keeping the internet a nice place to be and a great place for opportunity.

    Diane Evett

    As far as I'm concerned, Junk E-Mail is just a part of being on the Net. Just like Junk Mail is part of owning a mailbox. You have the privilige of sending mail across the country for a few cents, so what if you get something you don't want to read, just throw it in the recycle bin. The LAST thing anyone needs is official action against Spamming. That would replace one minor problem with a much bigger problem.


    With regard to: Unsolicited Email

    I feel as you do, that a little tolerance would make for a happier network. Individually sent letters to promote a home-based business to people the sender feels might be interested in the product or service the sender has to offer, with the subject matter layed out very simply in the Subject Line and First Sentence, should not upset the normal, well-adjusted human being. As you say, it is a very simple matter to just trash any unwanted email.

    I have had marvelous response from simple, short fliers I have emailed to individually selected persons, referring them, as a Rep who receives commissions, to a company selling website and domain name packages; however, there have also been a few "foul mouthed" ones who not only responded to me, but to my ISP. We are a little community, not a lot of selection in ISP's, so in order to prevent any further complaints to my ISP, and lose my connection to the outside world, I have discontinued the practice. This was an opportunity to supplement my Social Security Disability, while caring for the children of my working children (grandkids).

    I think mailing out thousands of fliers, as you mentioned, is absolutely outrageous. None of the people in the company that I am in do this, to my knowledge. My respondents have been college students trying to finance their education through opportunities that can be done in their spare time from their computers, and people just like myself, that find it physically impossible to continue in their former line of work, and one in particular, a couple out of work with two "special needs" sons that find it necessary to find something they can do from their home with their computers. We aren't some kind of thoughtless monsters trying to make a "fast buck" by bombarding as many people as we can to get rich. The last thing any of us wants to do is to offend anyone.

    I think it is a shame that I have had to discontinue a form of "free enterprise" that was within the realm of my capabilities simply because someone found it more convenient to be a "vulgar trouble maker" than to just trash my little flier.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let my feelings on this controversial subject be heard. Now shall we talk about abortion? (smile)

    Florence Stone

    An Ethical Statement from a bulk e-mailer

    In regards to the costs involved in receiving advertising. If the argument that if you must pay for it, you should not receive advertising via, it is absurd. Do you pay for cable tv? I guess we should ban all the commercial stations as you pay a monthly fee for that bandwidth. Hmmmm.....

  • Do you pay a fee for the phone? ... Telemarketers have got to go.
  • Do you pay property taxes, a mortgage, rent? ... There go the door to door salesmen, junk mail and ice cream men.
  • Do you pay for newspapers and magazines? ... They have advertising.
  • Do you pay to access a commercial network of computers? ... That is what the internet is. A commercial network (thus the .com) for business communications, and knowledge base access.
  • When the government opened the 'net for commerce you would have to expect commerce to take place.

    As much as you may feel, it is the internet, not your personal playground. There is a point behind it's growth and the birth of these new industries.

    If we are to advance to the next level of commerce we must be tolerant and patient. Or, if your so inclined, kill off yet another industry, and another freedom in the name of personal comfort.

    I would be suprised to hear any of commerces detractors could sleep as Americans, espousing the destruction of a harmless industry. These are the people who are killing our freedoms. Those who would sacrifice liberty and freedom for the sake of safety and comfort deserve neither.

    Direct mail has been with us for some time now. It is a tried and true method of marketing products and services to a massive segment of our population. Every one of us receives many of these traditional "junk mails" each week. The obstacles set up make it all but impossible to stop them, and after a while they build to a mountain of unread (for the most part) papers representing millions of dead trees.

    Direct E-Mail marketing is a new application of an exciting new technology. I am now in a position to quote some real figures on the negative responses. I do get a few irrate, nasty, abusive and threatening responses to our offerings. These responses add up to one quarter of one percent! These I call the "free the 'net, but only as free as I want it to be" crowd. I don't think I want my business or the internet controlled by such an insignificant but vocal minority. They have a right not to receive any more mail if they tell me they don't want it. For this reason I will not authorize the selling of our e-mail list. When I am asked to remove someone from our list they are put in a remove file which "flags" their e-mail address with a "false" parameter. From then on our database is unable to mail to that address -- even if we receive the address again!

    Another one percent ask to be removed from our list. That leaves 98.5% who either don't mind receiving, or actually enjoy getting these offerings.

    For the hundreds of unpleasant and occasionally verbose, e-mails I receive I get thousands of appreciative letters telling me what they'd like to find on the 'net. Or amazed responses at the bargains I point people to. It is for these people I am doing this. Face it, folks: if it didn't work, no one would use the service.

    But there are people out there who are looking to make a quick buck by pulling down e-mail addresses and selling them to whom ever they can find. Anyone who has had an on-line service account who gets on one of the "resale" lists will receive 10, 20, 30 -- upwards of 100 e-mail marketing messages a week. It's a fact of life. However from our company, you will not receive more than two "bulk" style e-mails and two issues of webspinz a month. That is four e-mail messages in a month.

    We are trying to create customers, not antagonists. I don't want to over run anyone's e-mail box any more than I want mine to be over run. However, I do appreciate receiving timely information about products or services I need.

    We don't sell our list so you will not be "abused".

    We take some time to look over the people whom we work with, and we don't send anything we don't feel would be a benefit to the people who inhabit our list. We do keep firmly in mind that these are people out there who are receiving our messages. Not just numbers, not just markets, but living breathing neighbors and friends who deserve the best we can give them: That is our aim. That is our goal. To bring to you the best the net has to offer and to bring to the business we deal with the market that is looking for them but can't find them among the crowds.

    Karen Haynes

    I of course like many receive junk e-mail. Since then I have come up with a reply to those junk mailings. I have an e-mail ready made which I send in reply to the junk mail, offering them a legitamate business oportunity. This seems to be working, my junk is shortening, and my clientelle increasing.

    Robert Follis

    I think the key issue here is bandwidth and 'per packet' email cost. It has little to do with the fact that the majority of people mind/don't mind e-junk mail. It's more an issue that some people have to pay for their email on a per received or mailed basis. For those people, I think there should be a way for them to limit their unsolicited mail. In fact, many 'email agents' allow those kinds of selectivity. Find an email agent that allows you to block out the spam and get on with your lives...

    For there rest of us, the 'delete button' is a marvelous tool! And every once in a while, there are even hidden pearls in that deluge of junk!

    It is crass for someone to do direct emailings, I agree. However, that's how businesses advertise. Out of those mass mailings, electronic or otherwise, they realize a certain percentage of their bottom line. While I am not personally an advocate of email spamming, regardless of subject, I take no real umbrage at these individual's lack of tact or class. It works for them -- I delete most of it unread -- big deal. It generally takes me all of five to ten seconds to trash all the e-junk mail. In fact, it took far longer to voice my opinion on the subject than it takes to delete e-junk mail. Go figure!

    David L. Rice

    I firmly support the freedom and lack of censorship afforded users of the internet. I even go so far as to acknowledge that spammers - as shallow as their gene pool may be - have the "right" to do what they do. I object to the fact that our e-mail addresses become a commodity over which we have no rights or control. Once a person's address falls into the hands of spammers, the amount of junk mail increases exponentially. I object to the fact that on-line services do NOTHING to protect the privacy of their customers - and why don't they? because time is money: Your on-line time is their money = e-mail takes time to download.

    The secret lies with us. These creeps distribute to a million people in a matter of minutes. If they attract just ONE customer, then their efforts were worth it. The technology DOES exist to control spam, but few want to challenge the magnitude of the Pandora's box they would open by implementing such "censorship".


    I am not so opposed to the _ACT_ of bulk e-mail, but the unresponsible persons who hawk their scams, schemes, pyramids, etc. I own a business, and have begun promoting on the Internet. I have considered a massmail campaign, I have all the software installed and configured. I am, however, a bit hesitant to go with the mailing because I do not want to associate my product with the "spammail mentality."

    It is the spammers who have made their bed. They chose to promote a scam, scheme, or illegal pyramid, thereby giving the act of spamming the reputation it has. I believe it's not even the unsolicited e-mail that has everyone so uptight, it's the fact that most (99.9%) of the unsolicited mail we receive is truly, junk. Crap. Scams.

    By forging headers, giving bogus addresses for remove requests, continuously mailing and re-mailing the same scam offers to unwilling recipients, they have set themselves up for this battle we are now engaged in.

    Personally, I would like to try a bulkmail run...I believe it would benefit my business immensely. But the act of sending unsolicited e-mail has such a bad name, I'm afraid it would associate my business/product(s) with a negative force, thereby reducing mycredibility. Even though I am offering a legitimate and credible product. Not MLM or some phoney bogus income opportunity.

    Kevin Murie

    I agree with your stated position on unsolicited E-mail. What I don't like is when they say to be removed, reply or send to some address with remove in the subject and the E-mail comes back as undeliverable because the address doesn't exist ! I think this is a sleazy business practice and would not want to do business with anyone using such methods !

    Sam Lair

    Just to voice my opinion on spamming:

    I don't particularly like unsolicited e-mail, but for the most part it doesn't bother me too much if they are offering a real product or service - after all, I can just hit delete and it's not wasting paper.

    But what really pisses me off are scams asking you to send $5 names on a list to recieve "reports" on MLM, or scams or that ilk. Also, i hate it when a non-commercial bulletin board is filled with advertisement havng *nothing* to do with the sublect.

    The spam e-mail I wanted to report didn't have a real address and it's original address had been deleted in the routing information.

    I hope this is more helpful than bothersome,

    Jason Wheatcroft

    I don't consider the use of bulk e-mail as a legitimate way of advertising. I am personnaly bombarded daily by e-mail offering quick rich schemes and adult services and products. (I have yet to see a legitimate product or service being ofered in this fashion.) Yet, many of these unsolicited offerings do NOT come to you via fax, telephone, or snail mail.

    Nor do you see any of the big companies send you blanket e-mail offering their wares or services.

    These "spammers" give the legitimate companies a harder time selling their serices and wares. And, most smaller companies would really do much better advertising and selling in their own localities where the bulk of their business is. However, that is not to say that I don't discourage these smaller companies to advertise on the web. I encourage them to do so. Afterall, they want to be big just like the big guys.

    While advertising is very costly for small companies, every one should realize that advertising on the web should be considered a marketing tool, much like advertising in a trade magazine, newspaper, circulars, or direct mail. There are ways of advertising on the web without it costing much (i.e., many web sites offer free advertisments, some offer linked banners at no cost).

    I personnaly use banners, and take advantage of the free advertising whenever I can. Afterall, it's free. I do realize that there is a drawback -- limited audiences. But that's true with most forms of advertising.

    As the faxing of advertisements is not legal (why, it wastes your time and money), so should e-mail that is unsolicited. If they really want to send me something, send me a letter so I can prompthly throw it in the trash with the rest of the junk mail without ever opening it.

    With e-mail, however, I never have a way of knowing whether what I received is legitimate or not without actually opening it up. And, as I'm trying to sell my services and products the legitimate way - by advertising - I could get an e-mail form someone who wants to really buy from me. Thus, I have to read every one in order to sift through what I consider important. A waste of time, money (when you consider that time is money), and effort.

    I agree that the the web is a great way to promote your company nationally and worldwide, and it can be done on a shoestring budget (that's how I'm doing it), but these unsolicated e-mails have become more than a nuisance. They are a complete waste of my time -- so much so that I'm beginning to wonder if having a web presence and e-mail address is really worth it.

    Lewis J. Corcoran

    Comment on Unwanted Email:

    I read your page regarding filing complaints about undesired email. I agree with your stance, but I would offer this thought:

    I have no problem with someone sending a targeted email ad to me ONCE. But if I respond that I wish to be removed from the list, I shouldn't be pestered repeatedly. Just as telemarketing calls are regulated, so should email. If the remove request is not honored the email becomes harassment and should be a punishable offense. Many broadcasters are responsive to the request, but some, even if they indicate a way to be removed, simply ignore the request or, worse yet, the email gets returned as undeliverable.

    Thank you,
    Scott Wetenkamp


    If I remember right, it is still our right to print and say what we please, at least in America. I don't know about the international community, but people will always do offensive things as long as they have a forum to spread their displeasure of other people who share the WWW.

    It is too bad that some of the people that complain and whine about this problem, don't have "real" lives where they can vent their frustrations. Like the old saying goes, "If you can't run with the BIG dogs, stay on the porch and piddle like a puppy!"

    from a fellow web surfer

    One Of The Last Great Stands To Speak Freely To One Another, Unsolicited Email

    To those who complain about advertisements I say: "Where have you been" It's been going on for a long time in the US Mail, On our doorsteps, in our newspapers, phonebooks, etc. etc. etc. Get a grip, This is America! By outlawing Unsolicited E-Mail Advertising you risk pushing the little business person out of business. It threatens the free enterprise system, and also alows big business more opportunity to monopolize industries and price gouge. And everyone knows that there is good ads and bad ads, but in America Americans get to decide. The delete button is my option, not America Online's CEO.

    MR Picard

    Anyone Who has become so hyper-sensitive over unsolicited E-Mail is obviously over-worked, stressed-out from too much time in front of the computer. My suggestion would be, take a vacation to Disney World, take some Ex-Lax and ride the roller-coaster. Get it out of your system. Then return home and read your E-Mail.

    Ross Curro

    My take on unsolicited e-mails are:

    It can be very frustrating getting these long page after page e-mails which don't really say anything.

    I rutinely delete an e-mail if it gives instructions about how to be removed from future mailings.

    I do not believe in mass mailings as in 1000's where they go to every Tom, Dick and Harry.  But I do believe that an e-mail to a targeted audience is acceptable.  I am in a multi-level-marketing business (Herbalife), and do send what I feel is appropriate, a very short message with the words

    "Work at home" in the heading.
    I then proceed to say

        "Take a look at [web location]"  "if you like what you see, enter code 5520 and request more info"

    This message is only sent to people whose e-mail address I have come across as they indicate they are looking for work or additional income.

    I have received a number of positive responses from people saying they appreciate the short and to the point format, but that they are not interested at this time.

    I have mailed out more than 1000 of these messages, and had 2 "TWO" who requested to be removed from my mailing list, and I respond to them and apologize for the intrusion, and I do keep a list of people not to mail to again, and that they are added to the list.

    I have received more than 200 responses to this point from all six continents.

    Again I feel that unsolicited e-mail can be ok as long as it is done in a responsible manner.

    Kim Melchior

    Subject: Unsolicited Email

    I appreciate email advertisements -- They point me in directions that I may not otherwise have considered going. As an adult I have the capability of pressing delete or save -- It's a simple process that requires little thought and minimal effort. More thought should be given to the unsolicited snail mail that has to go through the process of being printed, folded, sorted, stamped, walked, driven, flown, delivered never to be opened and thrown into the garbage. -- I suppose it is the antiquated respect for the process that is most irritating about unsolicited email -- It's just sent.

    Janet Caen

    It' ll be interesting to see if this gets posted, as it runs contrary to the opinions on your Point/CounterPoint page. Also note, this email is NOT A REQUEST FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION. *Any* commercial e-mails sent in response to this will be cause for action to have you disconnected from the Internet.

    There is a reason that certain forms of unsolicited advertising are tolerated - they subsidize the media through which they are distributed. TV commercials pay for network broadcasts - if I don't want to see commercials, I get premium cable, and watch only the premium channels. Newspaper and magazine ads pay for the newspapers and magazines. Ads on the sides of buses pay a large portion of the mass transit fees. Postal junk mail subsidizes Online Content,Services or Information (or, at least, it did in the past). Unsolicited commercial e-mail *does not subsidize my Internet connection*. It *costs me money*, in both connect charges and disk space. It *invades my personal property*. Your "right" to send any e-mail ends at the border of my mailbox, just as my right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose.

    Let me ask you this - if I came to your house, and painted an advertisement on your front door, would you complain? I'm only exercising my free speech rights! If I stood outside your bedroom window at 3AM, and shouted advertising slogans to you through a bull horn, would you complain? I'm only exercising my free speech rights! Get a clue, folks - the First Amendment to the Constitution only prevents the government from censoring you because it doesn't like what you're saying. It *doesn't* prevent private companies (like Internet Service Providers) from saying that they don't wish to carry your advertising. More importantly, it's been proven in the Supreme Court that commerical advertising is *not* subject to the same protection as other speech, because commercial speech is bound by "time and place" restrictions.

    Dave Romerstein

    No matter how many times the "just hit delete" argument is slam-dunked, someone always brings it back up again. Folks, my daily record was 50 spams received in a single day, which is peanuts compared to what others have experienced. If you UCE'rs think for a minute that I am going to sift through 50 unwanted spams to get to the email I have asked for, think again. Time spent complaining to your ISPs has paid off. I no longer get anywhere near that much spam. And lets not even talk about the trips I have been on when I've watched my notebook downloading spam over a modem AT MY EXPENSE. Go back up and read the pro-UCE articles on this web page that try to debunk antispammers' cost shifting arguments. Take a big red dry-board marker and mark through all of those, right on your computer screen. They are ludicrous.

    UCE advertisers who want to show good faith will put the word "advertisement" in their subject line or will have an "X-Advertisement:" header so that those of us who are tired of receiving spam can have ONE FILTER line to take care of it, without having to keep adjusting an ever-growing procmail script, and without having to read the spam and then hit delete. Unscrupulous UCE advertisers will not flag their ads in this manner, because they do not want the general public to be able to block commercial email.

    BOTTOM LINE: Spammers, while all this legislative wrangling is going on, some of us will meet you half way. But your end of the deal is FLAGGING YOUR SPAM. I am going on a self-imposed moratorium--for the time being I will not report you for spamming me if you place the word "Advertisement" in your subject line or include an "X-Advertisement:" header. In fact, I won't even clutter your email box by bouncing it back to you. (You ARE using a valid return address, aren't you?)

    John Thomason

    Subject: The Spam / Anti-Spam Debate

    Well, I've been reading through this, and I notice an ominous similarity between a lot of the arguments about "spam" from the people who are pro-spam. A lot of the arguments rely on the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Others state that "it's not so bad, and you've been getting stuff like that in your mailbox for ages anyway". Then there's the "it doesn't cost you anything, just hit delete!"

    So, let's address these in turn.

    "It's Protected By The First Amendment" - not over here in Australia it ain't, chum. Now, oddly enough, this comment *might* be applicable *if* spam stopped at the borders of the US of A. It doesn't. Spammers don't care *who* they send their junk to - whether it's a housewife in Illinois, or an entire university in Israel. Oh, and just for those who haven't quite caught up, the Universe (like the Internet) *does not stop at the US borders*. This means that *any* pro-spam argument which is reliant on geographical location and social conditions *is not valid*.

    "You Get Junk Mail In Your Ordinary Mailbox" - Yes, and I throw that out, too. The big thing about the advertising that you get in your mailbox at home, and the ads you see on TV, and the ones you read in the magazines and newspapers, as well as the ones you hear on the radio, along with the predominance of advertising on the World Wide Web, is that they *pay* to advertise. The costs for these forms of advertising are met by the advertisers themselves. Spammers don't pay to send out their advertising email. They don't actually contribute to reducing the cost of the medium they're using for the consumer. Rather, they *add* to it.

    Many ISPs have policies which *prohibit* spamming from their servers - because it places an unacceptable load on their servers. So what happens now is that the spammer (yes, that wonderful, public-spirited citizen that he is) hijacks a server which *isn't* blocked to external relaying, and sends out their spew from that, instead. One crashed server later (overloading a mail server causes it to crash - and means that someone else gets the joyous job of ressurrecting it later... *after* the people who have legit mail waiting on that server have lost *their* mail), the spammer goes on their merry way, leaving a massive clean-up job for the administrator of the hijacked relay. Very public-spirited, I'm sure you'll agree.

    "It Doesn't Cost You Anything - Just Hit Delete" - care to pay my phone bill sometime, mate? Or better still, find someone with a .uk net-address, and ask tell *them* that spam costs them nothing... but find something solid to hide behind first - they pay by the *second* for data downloads, and a spamload of just 10 messages per week adds a fair whack onto their bill. This is a subset of the group of arguments which assert that the US of A is the world, so I won't go into it too deeply - suffice it only to say that the situation in the US of A with regard to telco and ISP charges is somewhat anomalous on a world scale. As for "just hit delete" - why should I have to? Why should I have to munge my email address (making it hard for legitimate email to get through too!) to prevent getting spammed? I've been asking this question for a while now, and I've still not got a reasonable answer.

    Just a few thoughts there...
    Meg the Magpie




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