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Spam Burning in Hell

A comment left on the RSS Roundtable discussion says this (edited slightly for appearance only):

"MailDrop - Advanced Personal Mass Email - Send personal email to thousands! Manage your holiday cards, clients, or friends in mailings. HTML or plain text. Attachments."

I hope Erik J. Barzeski burns in hell.

The only thing worse than a spammer is some fucker who sells them the tools to spam.
Posted by: CountBrass at October 19, 2004 01:49 AM

The thing is, MailDrop ain't spam software. I responded:

CountBrass, that's a silly misconception. However, you'd have to be the largest idiot in the world to use MailDrop to send spam. We don't allow people to fudge headers, we don't find or skip around open relays, etc. We don't do anything that spammers would like. I've written about this on my blog several times and hate spam as much as anyone.

There are thousands of legitimate purposes for MailDrop, and it's never been used to send spam to our knowledge. We, for example, use it to send email to the customers who have signed up for our mailing list. Churches use it to send monthly letters to their members. User groups use it to email their members. And so on.

Please consider holding back "burn in hell" comments in the future when it's clear you don't know what you're talking about.

CountBrass' attitude is one we've had to deal with since we first introduced MailDrop, and one we'll have to deal with once again as we prepare MailDrop 2.0 for release.

I despise spam as much as the next guy - probably more, as I get quite a bit more than probably 95% of the people in the world. Unfortunately, the general computer user seems to have such a simple (and incorrect) conception of spam: how to handle it (no, mom, don't click those "unsubscribe" links), how it's sent (not via MailDrop, that's for damn sure), and so on.

It makes me sick, sometimes, spam does. MailDrop ain't a spam tool, CountBrass, but thanks for the "concern."

5 Responses to "Spam Burning in Hell"

  1. This is probably a dumb question but, have you considered a "Why this app isn't a spammer app" on the main MailDrop page? Like, obtain a copy of a real spam tool, and make a little compare-and-contrast table or something?

    I know it truly changes anything, really, but it might enlighten the average browser. Save you the blood-pressure spike of dealing w/ them.

  2. Gregg, there's no reason. People that get to the MailDrop page are looking for software that does what MailDrop does, not what it doesn't do.

    The only time we see comments like this are when we release new versions (on VT or MU) and people who haven't bothered to actually try the product feel they need to vent against spammers.

  3. OK, why are we not supposed to click the unsubscribe link?

  4. It's a dirty trick. You are never unsubscribed. Instead, clicking on the link tells the spammer that there is a live person on the other end. You can expect to see a lot more spam.

  5. My initial impression of MailDrop drew thoughts of spam. On further investigation, this was not the function of MailDrop. However, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. When people see the terms mass e-mail, or batch e-mail, they think spam. It's a knee-jerk reaction, but a common one. This is why good politicians come up with completely different language to describe their actions than the ones their opponents use. Additionally, good politicians never ever use the opposition's terminology because it's just a losing battle. Here's something to think about: 'tax cuts' vs 'tax relief'. Which sounds better to a larger segment of the general populace? When was the last time you saw somebody opposed to tax cuts use the term 'tax relief'? When was the last time you saw somebody in favour of tax relief use the term 'tax cuts'?

    Obviously I'm not telling you what to do, but it might be a neat exercise to come up with completely fresh and unadulterated terms to describe MailDrop. For instance, you might want to call it an "E-mail Circulator". The term 'circulation' in that context might bring people to think of newspapers that have subscribers. And that's a good thing, because those subscribers actually want the thing that is being circulated. So the term itself has a positive connotation to it. Obviously, there are likely much better names for MailDrop's functionality but I think 'mass e-mailer' is a term that currently holds negative initial connotations to it.

    However, it might be the case that the people who view MailDrop as some sort of spam tool are not, and never will be, part of your customer base. In this case, it might not be such a big problem anyways.