Aug 7th, 2000, 05:37 AM
Had Enough
Posts: n/a
Maybe this will be "Bash the Marketers" day in the travel lounge.

Dan, I was interested to read the implicit theory that people might be less opposed to spam if it were targeted to the right person. What surprises me is that marketers think that solicitation is welcome if it is something that the victim might need, so if they can just make sure the right junk goes to the right person, all will be forgiven.

Maybe I am an especially hard nut to crack, but I don't want to receive any direct solicitation, even for something I desperately need and plan to buy. I want to seek out information (preferably unbiased information) entirely on my own. So there simply isn't a situation in which a direct marketer could be doing me a favor. And as you might guess, I have never, ever, ever bought anything as a result of being directly solicited to buy it.

Funny that so many people dislike politicians and lawyers, but fewer dislike the marketers who load them up with unwanted soliticitations. Maybe we've been brainwashed by . . . marketers.
Aug 7th, 2000, 06:45 AM
dan woodlief
Posts: n/a
Ok, good answers, but before we turn this into a bash Dan affair, let me clarify. I work in Marketing Research and do not personally sell products. I work for a company that sells products mostly by catalog to science educators, and most of our sales are made through the educators contacting us first. They not only want our products but have to have them to teach. So I am not coming at this from a first person perspective as much as out of curiousity over the issue. I have to admit that a lot about marketing and business in general can be pretty annoying and unethical. I would never use spam myself as a way of making sells. I guess I don't agree about all the negatives of junk mail through the regular mail. I do enjoy looking at some of it and have bought a handful of items. Very few though, as I am generally a tough sale. My own personal dislike is telemarketers. I don't mind them too much, however, if they understand the meaning of "no," tell me where they are calling from when I ask, don't call it a courtesy call (give me a break), and don't call too early or too late. And don't call during a UNC basketball game (are you crazy?) I don't like receiving these calls but do recognize them as a legitimate business practice. The only thing I remember ordering from a telemarketer was a subscription to the NY Times at a great rate (I was a previous subscriber). I guess I should say I do hate receiving spam at work because I do get a lot of other e-mails. I completely agree about the tendency to disguise spam as legitimate mail. To me, this is the worst aspect of it.
Aug 7th, 2000, 06:51 AM
Posts: n/a
Dan, I don't think anyone was intending to bash you personally. You're a valued contributor here. But as you noted, some of these practices are pretty annoying.

In fact, I would nominate you for sainthood for even listening to a phone pitch. My only goal when I receive such a call is to see if I can get off of the phone in less than five seconds after telling them to take me off of their list.

Personal pet peeve: those telephone solicitations in which they use a recording to pretend that a live person is leaving you a message. I thought the FTC frowned on those, and only non-profits could use them. Am I wrong?
Aug 7th, 2000, 07:01 AM
dan woodlief
Posts: n/a
Cindy, I am not that much of a saint. My goal is to get off as quickly as possible too, since I know most of them will interest me not one iota, and I do value my time. I always hang up if nobody answers immediately when I say hello. I cut off one of my wife's relatives like that one time, and she had to call back. So if you call me, speak quickly.

I did want to make a point about marketing in general. I believe it is perhaps the most unethical business field in existence, when you look at the possibilities and the bad practices that exist. However, marketing does serve one big benefit to consumers: it makes them aware of a products existence. Part of marketing is distribution strategy, for example. If stores in your area did not carry a certain product, chances are you often would not know of its existence or be able to buy it easily (less true now in the times of e-commerce). You may think you are looking for yourself, but some marketer put the product where you could find it and may have provided the information telling you about it in the first place.
Aug 7th, 2000, 07:58 AM
Posts: n/a
How refreshing!
Saw this thread and went here straight away!!! Ole Artist Dave got me twice this weekend!!! Sent him reply email about how, at first, I thought he was, perhaps responding to a comment I'd posted in here (fellow traveler...), but that when I got the second email that was identical to the first I could see he'd just blanketed the site for email addresses. Told him I didn't appreciate his this and not to email me again...Guess the better solution would've been to ban sender and email his website instead, as suggested by another poster...This is the first time I'd recieved this type of email from someone in a forum and I found it quite inappropriate and nervey of the sender. So glad you guys spoke up!
Aug 7th, 2000, 08:52 AM
The Lone Ranger
Posts: n/a
Wouldn't it be cool if there were some sort of spam retaliation device? So if someone spammed you, you could use the device to send them 1000 replies, none of which could be traced to you? The enhanced version might let you send along a virus with your 1000 replies? We'd have to make sure it didn't fall into the wrong hands, tho.
Aug 7th, 2000, 10:54 AM
Posts: n/a
Robin and all: I couldn't agree more. When I go off on business and don't take my laptop, I sometimes come back to find 300 messages in my inbox of which maybe 50 are what I call valid. I still leave my email address ("public")and receive anything from "Stop Hair Loss" to "Quit Smoking in 7 Days!" to "Put an end to Erectile Dysfunction Forever" (got that one today).

I know that by leaving my address that I leave myself open for this, but also realize that even though I only frequent several websites, of which Fodors is one, I deposit a "Cookie" doing so. This leaves a "signature" of you that provides certain information about yourself and your address. There is nothing yet available to protect any of us from "Data Mining". That is the information that is collected from "visits" and placed in a data base to be extracted in any number of ways, for any number of uses.

Places like Fodors are probably safe, but far too many just aren't. It's scary. George Orwell couldn't have dreamed this up.

I'm fortunate that I don't get more sales pitches I guess. Once your email address is posted, it's open season.
Aug 7th, 2000, 11:14 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi All

I agree about how annoying junk mail is (both email and snail mail). These days very little junk email gets past the delete on sight rule, unless the author is a little clever in the Subject line.

The troule is that whilst this thread gives us a chance to air our frustration there is no way in hell it will stop spammers as, lets face it, they dont actually _read_ the forums they mine for adddresses, they simply take a copy of a load of data and have a program ferret out the email addresses.

The chances of the punk painter or any other spammer actually reading this, let alone allowing it to influence their behaviour have to be zero.

After all it isnt as if they dont know already how annoying junk mail is, I am sure they cant be under the impression we all actually really welcome it!!

Sadly I think the only way to avoid it is to avoid using your real email address.

Perhaps Fodors could have a registration system, and only those who register and log on can read the email addresses in others posts.

Whilst this wouldnt stop a determined data miner it might deter some of them?

Just a thought off the top of my head...
Aug 7th, 2000, 12:08 PM
Posts: n/a
I wish there was too, Lone Ranger. For regular bulk mail I just pack up all the junk they send and ship it back to them in the handy chevron envelopes they usually supply. I now get very little.

Hotmail has a separate spot for junk mail but I still find it annoying to have to go in and delete a pile of messages every couple of days. I try to keep my regular email address (not Hotmail) off the internet so I get, blissfully, nearly no spam.

Dan, I don't want porn in my email even though I don't have kids to read it. I don't care about what "Candy" has in store for me, nor do I need Viagra, get rich quick schemes, or to lose weight. Do these outfits actually get business in this way?
Aug 7th, 2000, 12:22 PM
dan woodlief
Posts: n/a
April, I don't know. I am sure they get some business or they wouldn't do it. It does make you wonder though. I have wondered just what percentage of those called buy from telemarketers. You would think the number would be very very small. Some of my messages are pretty weird. I got one whose subject line said it would tell me how to use a line that would get me a date with a stripper. Yeah, I really need that. Even if I wasn't married, it would be hard to be enticed to read a message like that one.
Aug 7th, 2000, 12:41 PM
Posts: n/a
April and Dan,

Unfortunately, these telemarketers actually do make sales using these methods. Why? What could account for this? It really is quite a puzzle. Oh, I know. Could it be that many, many people are . . . what's the word I'm looking for . . . really stupid?

The truth hurts, huh.
Aug 7th, 2000, 01:11 PM
Posts: n/a
Hello, All. Just wanted to add a somewhat humorous piece of information to this thread...Someone here mentioned a SPAM message for Viagra. Well, an acquaintance of mine also got a similar message, and she and her husband have 6 kids!!!!!!!! They got a great laugh out of that one, let me tell you!!


We didn't ask for ya, we don't wantcha, and we are EXTREMELY tired of ya, so, as some of my very Southern family members would say (excuse the language, everyone) "Just pack up yer shit and GIT!!!!!"

BTW, great points made by all.
Aug 7th, 2000, 01:18 PM
George Holt
Posts: n/a
As it happens Lone Ranger thats exactly what used to be done to spammers. Now, unfortunately, its illegal to trash someone's mail service by mailing back a hundred copies of the bible or the complete works of Shakespear or even hundreds of copies of THEIR mail so its
good guys 0 - bad guys 1
I'm not completely au fait on the legality of beating a spammer to a pulp if you were to meet one in real life, but I guess it would favour the pulp!
good guys 0 - bad guys 2

On a positive note there are some things you can do to alleviate spam.

Many ISPs offer multiple mail addresses or aliases. Earmark one of these as your web persona, use it in all web transactions. Its optional whether you ever read mail to this persona but it does put most of your junk in one basket which is easily trashable. When the level of interest in this persona gets too high, dump it and invent a new one, a little like changing your phone number.

In combination with the above, most sophisticated mail readers (I use Eudora Pro) offer filtering of some sort. I suspect this is the 'block sender' people are talking about. You can nominate some characteristic of the message, to - from - a name - a subject etc. and have messages which fit this pattern diverted to a separate in-tray. Its possible to get lists of junk mail addresses but these outdate quickly, in practice serious spammers rarely use the same address twice and rarely have genuine reply-to addresses. Its often better to use filters to filter mail you want frrom correspondents you know out of your regular in-tray and into a special interest tray.

Eudora will divert filtered messages straight to the trash if you want but sometime you'll find yourself throwing out the baby with the bath water if you do this.

Like other correspondents I'd prefer not to have to go to the trouble of filtering and processing unsolicited mail in any media, I'd like to see it all outlawed but you have to try to make the best of it.

Regarding these forums, I don't see any reason why peoples email addresses need to appear in posts by default. Its OK for Fodors to require them before posting but there's no need to publish them. People who'd like to publish their address can then have the option of including it themselves in a signature or elswhere in the message.
Aug 7th, 2000, 01:46 PM
Ben Haines
Posts: n/a

Dear Mr Woodlief,

I don't learn of new products from salespeople, but from newspaper reviews.
Not that I bother to learn of many new products. If I wait five years my friends will possess anything worthwhile, people will refer to them in print or speech, the bugs will be ironed out, and they'll be on sale half price second hand or remaindered. Some new products I do search for: telephones from BT, and pre-set radios from Tottenham Court Road. But a radio that I've yet to buy is a case in point. It has BBC World Service pre-set for best short wave reception anywhere in the world. I heard of it from The Independent newspsaper, not from Sony, who have the sense to avoid spam and junk mail.

Ben Haines

Aug 7th, 2000, 03:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Well guys...just an update on our Dave-the-Artist...
I sent (today) an email to the "email me if you want to buy my art" box, on his webpage, and I wrote the following...

Subject: Very Interested...
Message: ...that you read the thread "DON'T SOLICIT ME!!! in Fodor's Europe Forum board... I feel my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of many other Fodor Forum contributors you have obviously targeted, has been expressed quite clearly in this thread, practically written Especially about you!!! Aren't you happy to get such interested, honest responses to your spam mail? I'm sure it'll be a great boom to your business...NOT! Do not email me again.

Anyhoo...To Dave's credit, he emailed me back, today,...
"Thanks for writing. Always nice to receive such pleasant mail.
Do not worry, you are not to receive anything in future.

Perhaps he would benefit from more feedback from you other posters?


Aug 7th, 2000, 04:55 PM
Posts: n/a
I agree. I sent the painter boy a note last night, referencing the fact that he was now a topic of this post. I also added some choice words about him trying to mess up a nice travel site.

Then I contacted AOL about their user sending illegal spam from their service. Painter boy sent me back a note apologizing but also denying that his messages constituted spam.

I guess painter boy thinks the laws apply to everyone but him. Perhaps he had better avoid the paint fumes from now on.
Aug 7th, 2000, 06:05 PM
Posts: n/a
Bravo, xxx
I hated to think I was the only one to confront this and still include my email I insane or stubborn!? hahaha.
Anyway...maybe he'll get the message...I imagine he's checking this site carefully Now! Maybe, just maybe, it'll make a difference...
Aug 7th, 2000, 06:10 PM
Posts: n/a
What I MEANT to say...was, I AM interested in "legit" emails in reference to this forum, as per our initial poster, Robin...
Nuff said! (for now! hahaha)
Aug 7th, 2000, 06:19 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks to all for the support! You'll enjoy this-- when I logged on today, my inbox was JAMMED!!! But was it retaliatory spam? Nooooo, it was... "Your Fodors Message has a Reply"

I got a chuckle!
Aug 7th, 2000, 09:55 PM
Posts: n/a
What an interesting point, George Holt! Is it true that if I use my email address in the body of my copy that I would stop getting all the spam at my Hotmail address, or are these "things" out there able to gather addresses from anywhere? Maybe I'll try it for awhile.
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