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Strange Bedfellows

You might think that Individualized Lifecycle Marketing, phishing and other fraud schemes, and a court case that allowed the University of Texas to block unsolicited marketing messages from entering the campus e-mail system, make for strange bedfellows, but you shouldn't. They're connected by a broad, sticky cord of despicable human beings ranging in class from pranksters all the way down to gangsters. Whatever they are, they're slime and nothing more -- all of them!When Responsys came to me and said the company was updating and modernizing the individualized e-mail marketing strategy available to its customers, I was relieved to have something besides fraud and viruses and spam to cover (see A Quick Intro To Individualized Lifecycle Marketing). But at the same time the University of Texas decision came down (see Court OKs Blocking of Unsolicited E-Mails) which said, in effect, that even though the messages being sent to students were legitimate marketing messages and did not violate the CAN-SPAM act or any other anti-spam laws, the university could block them simply because they were unsolicited.

Maybe you think that's a good thing, and in a different era, I might too. But the almost knee-jerk reaction we all have against e-mail messages that come without our control or permission is the result of the terrifying amount of spam, virus, and phishing attacks that come to us on a daily, nay on a minute-by-minute, basis.

It's a shame. E-mail marketing is a source of commerce, and not at all a bad thing, but it is cast in the shadow of malicious behavior that has overwhelmed the e-mail paradigm. That's a damned shame.