Flirting with Spam
Just mention the word, “spam,” and watch the negative emotions ranging from annoyance to hatred well up on the faces of most. When I began talking to W.J. about spam or unsolicited commercial e-mail, I became fascinated by her words and wanted to get inside her mind to learn why she “loves spam.”
Clickfire: You’re a professional. Can you tell us a little about your background?
W.J.: I am a writer and a speaker, a registered CIM, CIS, and CIT. I’m a Certified Professional Consultant, Certified Project Manager, former director of MIS, owner of a Sole Proprietorship (Powers Ferry Consulting), and a former IBM Consultant (road warrior).
Clickfire: How long have you been Internet active?
W.J.: 10 years.
Clickfire: Would you consider yourself a sophisticated Internet user?
Clickfire: What’s your first recollection of receiving an e-mail from someone you didn’t know?
W.J.: When I first began internet and e-mail access, I had no idea other people were sharing my internet address. I have received invitations to business meetings, etc., and learned that my internet address was being shared. Through the “sharing of my e-mail address,” I was more informed, included in important business events, and was able to stay current on upcoming business projects, meetings and events.
Clickfire: What were your feelings after this realization?
W.J.: For me the general increase in business was profitable. I was a sole proprietor and the benefit of my share e-mail address brought me more business referrals and thus increased my revenue.
Clickfire: Most people see spam as an annoyance at best. You have taken a totally different view by turning it into something positive. You have said that you “love spam.” Tell us how you are able to find value in unsolicited e-mails.
W.J.: In the early days I found a new means of communicating business-to-business much quicker with less effort. Snail Mail would take 3 days to one week. In the past two years my volume of unsolicited e-mails has increased. The benefit has brought me more product knowledge at reduced prices.
Clickfire: Approximately how much unsolicited e-mail do you receive per day?
W.J.: The Average per day is 10.
Clickfire: Do you find it even slightly bothersome that you receive so many e-mails and have to sort through them, taking up your time?
W.J.: The greater annoyance is getting two identical e-mails or better still 4 to 6 of the same in two days.
Clickfire: Who are the types of people who send you unsolicited e-mails and what message are they generally trying to communicate to you?
W.J.: Some weeks I receive 50 e-mails from the “Multi Level Marketing” companies and their representatives, 10 in one week for printer cartridge refills, Insurance rates, Debt Analysis, Credit Cards, Lottery chances, Play Bingo, Publisher’s Clearing House contest, Education, and on and on.
Clickfire: Would you ever use a spam filter?
W.J.: Yes, it is possible. But, I enjoy spam. Some spam is entertaining for me. I enjoy getting a laugh and a “break from it all”. Other spam is useful to me because it introduces products and services that I would otherwise miss out on. I stay in the know while I am on the go.
Clickfire: Have you considered sending unsolicited e-mail yourself?
W.J.: I did one year ago. I was receiving so many multi-level-marketing e-mails that I saved all the e-mail addresses that were different. My plan to “turn-around” the many e-mails and use them as a marketing tool did not get put into action. I still have the e-mails if you want to start a cross-country marketing campaign.
Clickfire: By “turning around,” do you mean that you were going to spam the spammers by sending unsolicited e-mail to the addresses appearing on the unsolicited e-mails that you received?
W.J.: No, I was not “spamming the spammers.” I had just bought into a multi-level marketing program and needed someone to solicit as potential clients.
Clickfire: A vice president of AOL recently called spammers “evil folks.” How do you feel about being sympathetic to a marketing strategy that costs businesses billions of dollars per year?
W.J.: Companies have the option of filtering unwanted e-mails.
Clickfire: Do you think there should be any form of punishment by law for those who send spam e-mails?
W.J.: The unsolicited marketing e-mails do not really break the law. They are annoying to many, but not unlawful. The content of the e-mail determines the liability.
W.J. can be contacted at: W1Q2M3ZT@aol.com.
Note: Clickfire vehemently opposes the use of unsolicited commercial e-mails or spam.