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DMA to Control Spam by DMA Members 204

Posted by michael
from the baby-steps dept.
SiliconLawyer writes: "The Direct Marketing Association, the major U.S. tradegroup for companies using direct marketing techniques, will reportedly issue guidelines for how its members may and may not use e-mail as a marketing tool. Hopefully, this will influence other marketers toward more responsible use of e-mail. Details are on CNET here."
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DMA to Control Spam by DMA Members

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  • anything named The Direct Marketing Association should be sent directly to /dev/null
  • by ewomack (225766)
    Won't this be a little like the wolf looking after the chickens?

    "We are still going to spam, but we wil spam nicely."

    Spam is Spam is Spam!
    • Re:Self-Moderation (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Pyromage (19360)
      Ahh, but if they spame nicely then they will have valid return-email addys, won't they? Or optimally, an X-UCE header, or some such.

      It's easier to filter nice spam :)
      • Re:Self-Moderation (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ewomack (225766)
        I see your point, but I shouldn't have to filter it out to begin with. These are people who use my bandwidth that I pay for to sell their product.

        Now, maybe if each piece of spam included a micropayment to my ISP...
        • Well what i got from the article was that they wouldn't spam you unless you asked for it. I think thats a good thing, and a step in the right direction. Also, the article has a link to a site where you can get your email removed from all DMA members spam lists (like they do for your phone # and address now). The only thing i don't like about that is that it expires, and requires effort on my part to get my name back on to their exclude list. Ideally, i wouldn't have any effort to keep my name on such a list.
          • Re:Self-Moderation (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tackhead (54550)
            > Well what i got from the article was that they wouldn't spam you unless you asked for it.

            No, the DMA's position is that they will spam you until you ask them to stop.

            From the article:

            > "give consumers notice and choice before sending commercial e-mail "

            Translation: "To continue receiving exciting offers from us, you need do nothing! Or you can opt out by jumping through hoops..."

            > "...or before selling, sharing or renting their e-mail addresses to a third party"

            All that means is that on the web site, or in the spam, there'll be a link to a "Privacy policy" that says "We reserve the right to work with partners to offer you goods and services we think may be of interest..."

            > " In addition, commercial e-mail must clearly identify the sender, represent the subject line accurately, and provide contact information."

            We won't forge headers. But we'll still spam you.

            > " Above all, the marketer must let consumers opt out of further communications in every e-mail. "

            "We received your request to be opted out of the FORD-OWNERS93133 mailing campaign."

            But tomorrow, you'll get spam as part of the "FORD-OWNERS93134" campaign. You weren't interested in that 2002 Ford Escort with air conditioning, maybe you'll be interested in a 2002 Ford Escort without air conditioning.

            Sorry, this is more of the same DMA dreck -- opt-out, not confirmed opt-in. It's spam. And they can shove it up their asses until it carves its initials in tomorrow's turd.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          These are people who use my bandwidth that I pay for to sell their product.



          As I read this I realized that I was wearing a t-shirt with the Reebok logo on it. I paid money to advertise for them...

    • No, more like the chickens looking after the chickens. One doesn't watch, the other doesn't care.
    • Nah, it's more like quitting smoking by hiding cigarettes from yourself.

  • "Despite all the problems you've caused in the past, I'll go ahead and let you guard the henhouse."

    Yeah, Riiiiiiiight.

    EFGearman
    --
    • > [OK, Mr. Fox] "Despite all the problems you've caused in the past, I'll go ahead and let you guard the henhouse."

      Precisely.

      From the article:
      > "If a company has conducted business with a consumer and has asked up front to send e-mail to that customer, then the message is not spam.

      "We signed up Joe Slashdotter for our list. Joe Slashdotter didn't jump through our hoops to opt-out. But since we asked him to opt-out, it's not spam. Even though his mail bounces with a '550 - known liar^H^H^H^HDMA member - permanently blocked' message, he hasn't opted-out.

      There must be something wrong with his machine. Better re-send the mailing a few dozen times an hour, just to make sure at least one gets through."

  • Ya right (Score:4, Funny)

    by sllort (442574) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:56PM (#2903099) Homepage Journal
    This has to be a hoax. Next thing I know you'll be posting a story about how Microsoft is going to "specialize in computer security".

    Har de har har.

  • When you click the "Remove me from your list" link, it'll point to a real page?

    Man, if I was a lawyer, I'd be rich!
  • Bloody Vikings!
  • by grytpype (53367) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:57PM (#2903110) Homepage
    Most of the spam you get isn't from the established businesses that would be members of the DMA. It's mostly from trailer trash. So this isn't really a big deal.
    • by shamino0 (551710) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:22PM (#2903328) Journal
      I would like to think so, but they've been proven liars in the past.

      Several years ago, when Canter & Segal (the "green card lawyers" who broke the ice for spammers) were abusing the internet, the DMA announced that they would be creating a "global opt out list". Supposedly, you'd add your address to the list, and no DMA member would ever spam you.

      Except it didn't work. Many people at news.admin.net-abuse.email decided to test this list. They created virgin e-mail accounts and submitted the addresses to the DMA opt-out list. Within hours, the accounts were spammed. Since the addresses were never used anywhere other than the DMA list, it became obvious that either the DMA was spamming from that list, or they were making it available to spammers.

      If they think I'm going to trust them this time around, they're crazy.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      • Well, I didn't mean to say that most established businesses are members of DMA, I meant that most (virtually all?) members of DMA would be established businesses.
      • And I did the same thing.

        0 e-mail on that account. At least until the webmail provider sold out, but the year long stint with DMA list was over by that time.
      • Since the addresses were never used anywhere other than the DMA list, it became obvious that either the DMA was spamming from that list, or they were making it available to spammers

        Unless the DMA itself is sending out the spam (not likely), they have to make the list available to spammers. How else would the list work?
  • oh..kay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sawbones (176430) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:57PM (#2903111)
    Maybe I'm in the distinct minority, but most of my SPAM doesn't come from any real reputable marketing firm. Email sent from a company that uses forged headers so I don't know who they are doesn't seem very likely to be an upstanding member of the Direct Marketing Association. It's like saying "Look, we've outlawed guns, now criminals won't shoot people"... but that's a whole other can of worms.
    • Re:oh..kay (Score:3, Interesting)

      I know it's redundant and karma-whoring, but don't put spam in all caps when referring to UCE.

      "SPAM"(tm) in all caps is a trademark of Hormel, who has good humor and grace [spam.com] regarding the term used for bulk-email.
    • Yes, but unlike guns, for SPAM to work i.e. make money, they need include real contact info in some form. So, the person/group at that contact is in big trouble if they've broken the law, as the cops can follow it home in many cases.

      Illegal guns? You shoot, you run. No id required.
  • oh yea (Score:2, Funny)

    by niekze (96793)
    If you'd like more information, please send an e-mail to gullible@dma.org.

    We promise this information will be kept private amongst are bajillion members and will not be shared with anyone else that doesn't politly ask.
  • Not like it matters (Score:2, Informative)

    by faust2097 (137829)
    I have worked for 2 companies that were DMA members and they were quite careful about sending mail, etc. already. This will have no effect on spammers whatsoever, they have a tendency to not pay thousands of dollars in dues to trade organizations.

    E for effort though.
  • Yeah Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Meridun (120516)
    That's like relying on the Tobacco Companies to issue guidelines on when smoking is socially acceptable and not.

    The DMA is all about self-interest, and their particular interest is enabling their members to put as much advertising in front of your nose as possible The only thing they're trying to accomplish here is to look responsive, so that the threat of useful legislation in the area will be less.

    Oh, and as for those people foolish enough to sign up for their "voluntary" no-call lists for telemarketers, that's about equivalent to replying to spam; it only confirms that your phone number is legitimate.

    • Re:Yeah Right (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:04PM (#2903183)
      Their "do not call" lists might be scams, but the state government Do Not Call Registry does work. I'm on the NY one and if a telemarketer calls we simply inform them that we're on the registry and they'll be fined $2,000 if they ever call back. Sure there are loopholes (anyplace you've ever done business with can call you), but it's better than nothing. You'd be surprised how quickly some telemarketers react when they hear "...on the Do Not Call Registry..." :-)
      • Re:Yeah Right (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tackhead (54550)
        > Their "do not call" lists might be scams, but the state government Do Not Call Registry does work.

        And that's precisely why we're seeing the DMA tout its own do-not-call registry.

        Because they're scared shitless that Congress will be deluged with complaints from citizens who've seen through the scam, and will actually do something about it.

        This article about the DMA "please don't spam me" list is more of the same -- they're on the run, and they fear Congress will do to their email spamming dreams what it's threatening to do with their telemarketers by means of an FTC-mandated and government-enforced national Do Not Call registry.

        Write your Congressman and tell him that you don't want the fox guarding the henhouse, and to support the FTC's anti-telemarketing proposals.

    • I wondered whether any address that I signed up would be spammed anyway. So I created a new address (never before used, and never to be used) and we will see if it gets any mail.

      Even if the DMA are honest, their service can still be used to get good addresses. Consider the following scheme:
      • Sign up with e-mps.org for $100.
      • Get one of these 25,000,000 email address CDs
      • Filter it through e-mps.org
      • Diff the filtered results against the unfiltered input.
      • Send out spam to the difference list.
      This gives you a list of live addresses -- ones which get less spam than average, and hence which are more likely to read your tasty marketing message.

      Great service guys!
  • Hmm...Direct Marketing Association...DMA. What exactly do they represent? Spammers, who uniformly sell crap. Thus, they could be the Direct Marketing (of) Crap Associat - thereby becoming the DMCA!

    Two evil entities, two similar acronyms. Coincidence? I think not. :)
  • You'll realize that the DMA's definition of "spam" is mass-mail from Somebody Else. About the only thing that the DMA policy requires of mainsleaze spammers is that they have "remove" addresses, and nobody trusts them anyway.

    Bottom line: this is just another attempt to head off effective legislation by pretending "industry self-regulation."
    • > Bottom line: this is just another attempt to head off effective legislation by pretending "industry self-regulation."

      Which reminds me -- Slashdot oughta run a story on the move towards National Do-Not-Call [nwsource.com] legislation. The FTC's proposed plan involves an $11,000 kick in the teeth of every telemarketing pigfux0r who breaks the law, and would make it easier for victims to trace back and report lawbreaking telemarketers to the authorities.

      The FTC is accepting public comment on the proposal [ftc.gov], in sextuplicate, by March 29, 2002.

      Make sure that the comments they get aren't entirely from DMA lobbyists.

      Due to fraudulent charity telemarketing after 9/11, the good guys have the political momentum on this one -- and the DMA is running scared on this one.

      Let's put the nails into the telemarketing coffin once and for all.

  • I'm encouraged to see the DMA taking steps to establish regulations on the commercial use of email, but I can't see my daily spam levels dropping anytime soon. Many of the companies they represent already have fair and decent policies in place, and the companies that are sending me spam now aren't likely to be stopped by the DMA.

    However, the DMA is still doing a good thing. One thing that wasn't mentioned in the article was if the DMA will set up a way to lodge complaints against companies that break the regulations. If there isn't an efficient way to report and deal with policy infractions, the policies are next to useless.
  • Not the Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xonker (29382)
    Typically, members of the DMA aren't the problem. It's some fly-by-night outfit that is advertising Herbal Viagra or Hong Kong Vacation Discounts or whatever -- people who not only annoy the people who receive e-mail, but usually do so illegally by using open relays, obscuring their true IP/Email address and so on.

    Most DMA members understand that opt-in is the best way to keep a happy customer, though some companies might occasionally make mistakes or require opt-out instead, they're not as bad as the ones who won't be affected by this in the slightest. It may not be 100%, but those companies really aren't the biggest problem. I doubt any of the companies who have harvested my email address on Yahoo! and send pr0n spam (with pictures) are members of the DMA.

    I think a death penalty for spammers is a good place to start.
    • I think a death penalty for spammers is a good place to start.

      But with that, we'd get no more entertainment from the likes of Bernard Shifman [petemoss.com].
      • > > I think a death penalty for spammers is a good place to start.
        >
        > But with that, we'd get no more entertainment from the likes of Bernard Shifman [petemoss.com].

        Not necessarily. Televise the spammer executions on pay-per-view.

        I'd be entertained.

  • It is obvious what should and should not be sent via email right now. Just as it is obvious who wants and does not want your advertisement emails (solicited vs unsolicited).

    The unwritten rules are being ignored now, why would spammers advertising get-rich-quick schemes, porn, and viagra start paying attention now that they are on paper? This is a big waste of time.

    Mark
  • by mfarah (231411) <miguel.farah@cl> on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:01PM (#2903148) Homepage
    ... low-life spammers that send stuff like "Make Money Fast", "enlarge your penis", "cable descrambler", "Here is my resumé. Yours truly, Bernie shifman", "25,000,000 e-mail addresses here", "Help me get this ridiculess amount of money off Nigeria", etcetera are.



    DMA member Amazon.com said such rules are already in practice at the online retailer. Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said the company gives customers a myriad of choices related to receiving company communications.

    "It sounds like we currently comply with all these rules already," she said.



    Generally speaking, I bet most DMA members already have an acceptable spam policy - that, or a policy that needs only minor tweaking to make it policy-compliant.

  • Effectiveness? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Winged Cat (101773)
    1. How many of the problem spammers are members of the DMA? Resume spamming services, for instance, probably are not, and thus have no reason to even be aware of the DMA.
    2. Even if a large number of the problem spammers do belong to the DMA, how many will actually abide by DMA regulations? What penalties will (not just can) the DMA mete out to its members who violate these regulations?

    I'm sure the DMA wants to avoid regulations hitting their entire industry, but the facts are that they haven't been effective in the past. Junk faxes - including the infamous ones for more fax toner - are still regularly sent (I get a few every week at home). So, why should anyone reasonably expect anything they do to make a difference now?
  • It's still not clear to me how Direct Memory Access is going to keep my inbox spam-free. I mean, will hard drive manufacturers stop the CPU-less transfer of data from C:\ or /mnt/hda1 if they detect such strings as "You've already won", "Free trial offer", or "Wet sex"?
  • The wheels are already in motion now.....As I heard/read the other day, this is one of the most popular/hot-button issues with voters today...SPAM and Telemarketing...and since elections are just around the corner, look for this to become one of the places where our "courageous" law-makers can distinguish themselves!

    Spammers and Telemarketers...."surrender must be immediate and unconditional, prepare to be boarded or destroyed"
    • > [It's an election year, and voters have had it with the DMA] Spammers and Telemarketers...."surrender must be immediate and unconditional, prepare to be boarded or destroyed"

      That'd be a great campaign slogan for a pro-privacy candidate: "If you are not with the public, you are with the telemarketers!"

  • Majority of DMA members are honest companies that use email marketing ethically - meaning opt-in messages, honoring unsubscribe requests, etc. This wont do anything to curb those "Increase Your Penis Size!" spams.
  • When was the last time you knew of spammers that followed the rules?

  • Then what? They SPAM anyway, and don't have DMA dues to pay.

    Great idea, nitwits.
    • Hopefully, this will influence other marketers toward more responsible use of e-mail

    In other news, US businesses agreed to stop savagely beating customers who are tardy in payment. Hopefully, this will influence organised crime towards more responsible collection policies.

  • by Bonker (243350) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:05PM (#2903190)
    I recently spent a few weeks trying to persuade my company's marketing bimbo that no, we could not send unsolicited emails to potential customers.

    I used the simple expedient of repeating the reasons against spam over and over again until they began to sink in. I even threatened legal action... ie: I told them that people were starting to successfully prosecute spammers for big money.

    Even than, I had to answer the question... "Why would this be illegal? I get this kind of thing all the time."

    The sad thing was, until I finally convinced the executive VP to bring the hammer down on the project, I was forced to compose graphical HTML-ized spam emails. Thank god they never saw the light of day.
    • The sad thing was, until I finally convinced the executive VP to bring the hammer down on the project, I was forced to compose graphical HTML-ized spam emails.

      I hope you were at least considering putting some obvious, easily-recognized string in, say, subject, so that most people's existing filters would trash the SPAM immediately. :)
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday January 25, 2002 @06:45PM (#2903813)
        > > The sad thing was, until I finally convinced the executive VP to bring the hammer down on the project, I was forced to compose graphical HTML-ized spam emails.
        >
        > I hope you were at least considering putting some obvious, easily-recognized string in, say, subject, so that most people's existing filters would trash the SPAM immediately. :)

        You mean like <HTML>? ;-)

        Actually, I think I know what happened to the bimbo in question. Or a clone of her, by the name of Laura "Boy, am I ever gonna have to eat some" Crow. She works at Earthpink. I got a pile of spam from her this morning.

        I know it's from Laura, because her spam has her name in the comments as the document's creator, and I know Laura's somewhat bimbo-like because the spam had a bunch of IMG SRC tags pointing to "D:\11 12 01 Laura Crow\New Emails\CidcoEmail_FINALJAN_020121_files\t(1).gif"

        Way to go, Laura Crow! Ur 733t HTML h4x0ring sk1llz r so 733t, u h0t b@b3!

        A little Googling has revealed that I'm not the only one getting Laura's spam [google.com].

        1) Spammers lie.
        2) If you think a spammer's telling the truth, see Rule #1.
        3) Spammers are stupid.

        Rule #3 in action again.

        But if you want a glimpse at the future the DMA proposes for "opt-out", look for the opt-out link in Laura's spam:

        It's a Mailto: tag to "mailto:opt-out@earthlink.net?subject=Opt-out_Cidc o012202"

        It doesn't opt you out of all Earthpink-generated spam. Only Laura's Cidco spam. When Earthpink wants to spam you again for another company, or even when Earthpink wants to send the next Cidco spam (hopefully coded by someone who knows how to make web bugs work, unlike our dear Laura) it'll be a different list, and a different Subject: in the opt-out request.

        Doesn't that make you feel all pink and squishy inside?

  • Won't work! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:05PM (#2903192) Homepage
    First, they don't allow the removal of a domain.


    Second, who trusts the removal links?


    Third, what prevents me from grabbing the removal database and using as a verified sucker database?


    What would work is that DMA provides an email service that allows a member to submit a list and email to send to them, then they will test the address and if it is ok, then send it.

    • Second, who trusts the removal links?
      I do, if and only if the mail comes from someone who doesn't spoof headers and send pr0n... in other words, a respectable business who should know better than sending me mass mailings.
    • Re:Won't work! (Score:2, Informative)

      by AlienFactor (90073)

      Third, what prevents me from grabbing the removal database and using as a verified sucker database?

      It established practice of companies that provide snail-mail mailing lists to seed them with a few addresses that belong to the list provider. That way they can verify that the lists are being used according to the terms of the contract between the list provider and the user, based on what arrives at those seeded addresses.

      Same would work for e-mail.

  • Unsolicited, bulk, (particularly commercial,) email, is and will always be as acceptable as interrupting my dinner to sell me auto insurance.

    The difference being, that spam costs me money and costs the sender virtually nothing. Spam is also almost always fraudulent.

    But, there's nothing you can really do about it. Some ISPs aren't even in the same country as me and don't give a rat's ass about their users attempts to defraud people.
    (Anyone else get "Government Grant E-Books" from Korea on a daily basis in your trash mail folder?)
  • look on their site. "you can get on our do not call list. up to 16 weeks later you may notice a decrease in phone calls. its five dollars to sign up." is this thing legit? if i were to actually sign up, how do i know i didnt just activiate a "this phone number is valid, spam it" function? (at the isp i work at we always tell our customers not to reply to spam emails for the same type or reason). the five dollars thing is the biggest insult of all. "i'll stop beating your shoulder in every morning for your milk money". why should i believe anything they say? they seem like big giant weasels. ick. ick, ick.
    • by (H)elix1 (231155)
      Its only $5 if you want to do it over the net. If you print out the form and snail-mail it, its free.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Why sign up? I enjoy verbally abusing telemarketers. I espically enjoy the ones that give me the 800 number to their fax machine and send them a 600 page document from my computer or a bit of real fun... send them the contents of /dev/random... nice pages full of line noise.

      yes, I'm wierd and probably a part of a tiny minority. but I gladly abuse any company that has the gall to call me at 10:30pm and wake my daughter.

      I have always wondered.... is telemarketing a part of a companies life cycle when they no longer can attract customers legitimately so they have to try this just before death?
  • worthless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SpacePunk (17960)
    In case the guys at DMA didn't get the memo, the cat's already out of the bag, pandora's box has already been opened, or .

    The majority of the SPAM that's flying around the net isn't even from DMA members. It's all from con and scam artists.

    Their move isn't going to change a damn thing in the short or long runs.

    -

  • Microsoft "promise" not to be anti-competative and monopolistic.

    The Ambulance Chasing Attorneys of America promise not to pursue nussiance claims, and to only ever present the true facts.

    The Defence Department promises all bombs will hit their intended targets.

    Arthur Anderson promise they won't let the additional fees for consultancy cloud their auditing judgement.

    And of course

    The French Waiters Union promises not to treat all customers like plebs

    or maybe

    Slashdot promises to practice even handed journalism with a good grasp of reality.

    :-)
  • When I think about any sort of organized group specifically for direct marketing, I get this strange vision of all its members. If they were to have a convention, an outsider would probably see a bunch of guys that all looked the same exhibiting. They would probably all be about 4'9" tall, have a balding crown with wisps of unkempt hair, hunchback, and constantly walking around wringing their hands and repeating, "Yes, my precious," while breathing heavily.

    Oh, and all their names are "Igor" or something and they refer to themselves in the third person. "Igor like licking stamps." "Igor has good marketing strategy." etc.

  • by archnerd (450052) <nonce+slashdot.orgNO@SPAMdfranke.us> on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:09PM (#2903230) Homepage
    Two ideas for handling spammers, inspired by User Friendly:
    1. Next time you get a "501 compliant spam" that starts off with something like "This is not unsolicited bulk e-mail. Buy me.", flood their server with messages stating "This is not a denial of service attack."

    2. The following poem seems to work well:
    I got your mail and wrote you back
    just so that you'd have no doubt
    that if you spam me ever again
    your router shall cease to route
    • 1. Next time you get a "501 compliant spam" that starts off with something like "This is not unsolicited bulk e-mail. Buy me.", flood their server with messages stating "This is not a denial of service attack."


      Hi Pitr [userfriendly.org]

    • The following poem seems to work well: I got your mail and wrote you back just so that you'd have no doubt that if you spam me ever again your router shall cease to route

      Hi Erwin [userfriendly.org]

      Although personally I prefer This technique [userfriendly.org]

  • Hurray! I'll be getting 10% less spam! Man, does anyone have a pen I can borrow to cronicle this grand day?
  • I can just see those guidelines now:

    • When indiscriminately sending unsolicited email, please be sure to spoof the mail headers so the mail can't be traced back to you.
    • When mail-bombing the hotmail.com domain, please refrain from sending mail to billgates@hotmail.com or your software liscences may suddenly expire.
    • Please pre-pend the subject lines of all unsolicited email with the ADV: prefix...(uncontrolable laughter ensues)
    • When providing a fake "remove" link in an email, be sure that the address doesn't implicate your company or the DMA. remove262@yahoo.com usually works best.
    • When marketing to a technically-inclined demographic, refrain from inserting the phrase "ALL YOUR PRIVACY ARE BELONG TO US" in the email. It's not only distatsteful, it's downright cliche [wired.com].

    • > I can just see those guidelines now:
      >
      >When marketing to a technically-inclined demographic, refrain from inserting the phrase "ALL YOUR PRIVACY ARE BELONG TO US" in the email. It's not only distatsteful, it's downright cliche [wired.com].

      And for chrissakes, if you're an ISP, make sure that when you spam your own customers, you learn to code HTML! [google.com]

      I wonder if Laura Crow (whose name appears in the broken links to a local hard drive in the aforementioned spam, and she writes her HTML in the "Temporary%20Internet%20Files" directory on her local hard drive, judging from the first few lines in the comments.) is Bernie Shifman's sister?

      (And how the fsck many of these spams did Earthpink send out?)

  • by UberOogie (464002) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:12PM (#2903259)
    When I read this, I feel exactly the same as when Microsoft said they were going to focus more on security...

    What do you think that means?

  • Bad News. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mlknowle (175506) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:14PM (#2903267) Homepage Journal
    All that this will do is demonstrate to Congress that we don't need government regulation; that the private sector will take care of itself...

    ... the trouble is, in this case, the private solution will be pitifull; it is, after all, being proposed by a group which claims that their right to call me during dinner time to sell me a time share vacation EVERY NIGHT FOR ABOUT A MONTH is protected by the first ammendment...
  • To get on their national do not call list you can visit their site and opt out. To do it by mail is free but to do it online requires a 5$ fee paid by credit card. The catch for the by mail option is that it could take up to 30 days to process. Where is the logic in this? They have to pay some poor data entry people to process every form that comes in yet it costs very little to have me submit my form to a web server. It doesn't make sense. The only thing I can think of is that they don't want any script kiddies deregistering entire electronic phone books.
  • I have been long of the opinion that a good weapon in the war against spam and email abuse would be requirements at some level that emails be digitally signed with a certificate coming from a trusted authority like Verisign.

    I believe this is the only way we'll ever be able to get the control mechanisms into place that will start reeling in the ever increasing abuse of the Net... accountability.

    Ultimately I would hope that most email servers will begin putting into place policies that reject unsigned mail...

    Anyone else agree with me?
  • I personally like the way ICQ handles messages and think that this could be applied to email as well. You could have settings that would require people to request authoriztion to send email to you. Everything else gets filtered. This would make spam a two step process for those involved and hence eliminate a vast majority of unwanted mail.

    Granted one might be flooded with a deluge of autoriztion requests, but I suppose that could be set to a timing mechanisms whereas if a request was ignored long enough it's just refused.

    Please feel free to poke prod or in any way disassemble this "idea"..or more accurately alteration of a successful method of communication.
    • I personally like the way ICQ handles messages and think that this could be applied to email as well. You could have settings that would require people to request authoriztion to send email to you. Everything else gets filtered. This would make spam a two step process for those involved and hence eliminate a vast majority of unwanted mail.


      But would this stop people from faking who the message is coming from? No. The real shitty evil of spammers is that they look for ways to take a Good Thing(tm) like SMTP and turn it in on itself. It would be a matter of time before spoofing brought such a concept to its knees. I personally like the idea of digital signatures for e-mail marketers. It gives something ironclad to opt-out on and filter.

  • but the preliminary comments are still way too ambiguous:
    "We view spam as sending a commercial e-mail to someone with whom a marketer has not had any prior business relationship and as being sent to someone who has not asked for the e-mail," Cerasale said.

    Alright, so if you sign up for a shopping site so that you can browse the contents, does that qualify as having a business relationship with a marketer? I'm pretty sure the businesses think it does. How about email being sent to someone who has not asked for the email? I don't think I've ever asked for an advertisement email, but I know that lots of times you have to scour every inch of the screen to find that little checkbox that says "click here if you don't want to receive promotional emails." The way the article reads, I'm not seeing much improvement here. These companies aren't really the huge spam problem in the first place, it's mostly the diet fad and porno sites, but still I don't think this will reduce their spamming, they'll just come up with new ways to trick you into "having a prior business relationship with a marketer" and "asking for the email."
  • by Junta (36770) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:21PM (#2903317)
    I mean, my wife gets e-mails telling her to enlarge her penis and I get e-mail telling me to enlarge my breasts....
    • I mean, my wife gets e-mails telling her to enlarge her penis and I get e-mail telling me to enlarge my breasts....

      M$ Harvester intentionally mistakes gender to keep your clients ammused. This enables you to send mails that are actually read and ensures positive complience with your program. Our power users love it. We've gotten a number of complaints about this feature from other users however and we will fix that buffer overflow in Havester2002.

      Thanks for your interest! Keep using the M$ Spam Set, the only spam development sweet that's fully integrated with the operating system from your desk to your client's desks. Our helpful newsletter is atatched below and you have been added to our list.

      SpamWare 2002 newsletter 10,569 jan 25 10PM - Generated by Spambot on a Genuine Intel system!

      NEW SPAM ASSISTANT
      Tired of the same old Paper Clip (TM) Office Assistant (TM) that every program, even VI uses? We thought you were, because all of our usability tests showed people cursing and screaming at him before we integrated him into MSIE. Well, goog news! To compliment the dancing dogs and other custom denial of computing services our fine OS offers, we've made a special spam assistant just for M$ Spamware users! The new assistant not only gives you helpful hints on using spamware, it tells you clever details of your competition's use of Spamware. That's right the new Rat Fink assistant face conceals spyware (TM) to tell us everything you do while advertising our new product to you.

      TWICE THE SPEED ENHANCEMENTS
      By applying SpamWare patch #97497394a3874 (see link at end of article!) your harverster software will work twice as fast. That's because the patch duplicates entries so you can send that letter twice! Everyone needs duplicates, right? Everyone needs duplicates, right? You would not want your helpful message to get burried in your client's mailbox. Sending it twice, by having harvester record everyone twice, really makes that message stand out!

      STEVE BALLER WINS PRODUCTIVITY AWARD!
      Steve Baller, marketing wizzer extraordinary's revolutionary enhancment to SpamWare (TM) has netted him a major award! His pioneering work with "opt-out" concepts has been a boon to the Spamming Developer's Network. Go Team! Way to innovate.

  • by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:21PM (#2903320) Homepage
    What's the point? A rough guess that 99% of /. readers believe this will do nothing to stop spam. I'm sure reading the article, most of you already knew what the responses would be. So why was the story submitted in the first place?

    Who is SiliconLawyer anyway? Well, well, well, wouldn't you know, he's selling something on his website.

  • by noser (114367) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:32PM (#2903388)
    The DMA will also require members that buy access to mailing lists--in which consumers have agreed to receive sales pitches from third parties--to check those names against an e-mail preference roster on its Web site. Addresses on this roster belong to consumers who have chosen not to receive any commercial e-mail.

    So one of the ingenious ways they have of preventing spam is by posting a list of addresses on their website... anyone else see a problem with that? It is obvious to me that they don't really care about the spam problem, they just want to look like they are self-regulating so that congress doesn't interfere with their marketing plans.

  • by TheFlu (213162) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:36PM (#2903411) Homepage
    Add the following to your sendmail.mc file:

    FEATURE(dnsbl,`bl.spamcop.net')dnl
    then run
    m4 /etc/mail/sendmail.mc > /etc/sendmail.cf

    Works for me...doesn't block it all, but it seems to help a great deal.
  • by Tazzy531 (456079) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:37PM (#2903418) Homepage
    The problem with this is that the majority of the spam mailers do not belong to the DMA. They don't need to follow the rules under this organization. The ones that do belong to this typically (I didn't say always) have an easy opt out policy. Secondly, the corporate spammers have an entity that could be potentially held liable for spam whereas the individual spammers can move and hide easily.
  • With the self-imposed rules, the DMA requires members to give consumers notice and choice before sending commercial e-mail or before selling, sharing or renting their e-mail addresses to a third party. In addition, commercial e-mail must clearly identify the sender, represent the subject line accurately, and provide contact information. Above all, the marketer must let consumers opt out of further communications in every e-mail.

    Taking the cynical approach to reading this section in the article, we can expect that it will be acceptable for DMA members to send out the 'permission to spam' spam that so many spamming morons already do.

    I'd like to see federal law that provides some disincentive to spam-sending critters. Making spamming illegal makes spammers into official criminals. I just can't see 'industry' self-regulation working very well when most spammers aren't even a part of any legitimate industry.
    • I'd like to see federal law that provides some disincentive to spam-sending critters. Making spamming illegal makes spammers into official criminals. I just can't see 'industry' self-regulation working very well when most spammers aren't even a part of any legitimate industry.
      Like if american federal law will be useful against Asia-based spammers...
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:50PM (#2903520)

    They only send me stuff I would want to see, I get it no more than maybe 1-2 times a week, and it often includes a $5 off coupon or something.

    Most of my bad spam is for absolute random crap or porn, with the same old line on the bottom informing me that the reason I'm being informed about all these Internet Cum Sluts is because I specificly requested to be spamed on their site or one of their partner's sites.

    Plus, the latest thing is dating the message 3-4 days back, so you have to scroll back on your inbox to read/erase the spam. It stops the instant deletes by hiding it.
  • So what (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrroot (543673) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:53PM (#2903536)
    A DMA representative said the organization plans to announce the new rules governing commercial e-mail next week. The trade group, one of the largest in the United States with 5,000 members, includes such retailers as Amazon.com, Land's End and Eddie Bauer.

    So what? Now Amazon and others will be able to send us email and claim they are within the guidelines set forth by the DMA. These guidelines are nothing more than a mechanism to allow them to legitimize their spamming operations.
  • Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrroot (543673) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:57PM (#2903556)
    How about not making it illegal to spam but make them buy a "license" to spam, and renew it every year... something like $100/yr even would weed out alot of the real clowns, but it wouldn't be so prohibitive as violating their rights.

    OK, it's just an spur of the moment thought, so take it easy on me.
    • Re:Here's an idea (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DavidTC (10147)
      That's actually a great idea.

      Of course, no one would have to accept the spam, we would still run blacklists like normal...it'd be like a tax on the stupid! Or, alternately, if they don't pay the tax, we'll have a reason to have them arrested.

      • But we already have a tax on the stupid.. its called the lottery.. if we had more, the stupid would then become poor and homeless and resort to get rich quick schemes to make money..
    • Tell ya what. How about we form a cabal of system administrators with a chapter in every city to pay spammers a 'visit' for some 'wall to wall counseling' every time spammers send out a run.

      Hells Administrators! or Hells Geeks!
    • buy a "license" to spam, and renew it every year... something like $100/yr

      So for $100 buck a year every not clown company on earth can send an unlimited amount of garbage out to the world and cost everyone just as much as "I love you"? No thanks. How about a nice meat space analogy to explain things:

      Spam is like litter. Throwing a beer can out the window is not a big deal until everyone does it. Then you live in a world full of trash. It's oppresive, costly and wasteful. Someone has to spend their time picking it up rather than doing something creative or useful. The internet is every bit as public a place as the highway system. No one's rights are violated when you keep them from trashing the world and no one's rights are violated when you tell them they can't fill everyone's mailbox with garbage. They are just as free to put that trash on their web site as I am to sell manure or let people haul it away.

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:59PM (#2903571) Homepage
    The only acceptable method for adding anyone to a mailing list is the double opt-in:
    1. Until I ask to be added -- don't contact me.
    2. When I ask -- presume it was not me and e-mail me a confirmation request.
    3. Only, when such a request comes back affirmative can you add me.
    DMA, which wants to spam you [mail-abuse.org], does not need to invent its own guidelines. They are already there [mail-abuse.org] -- by people, who know more about the Internet and e-mail, than, perhaps, the entire DMA put together...
    • Don't call that "double opt-in." By calling it that, you play right into the spammers' language games. It's only one opt-in, but it's required that they verify with the person who they claim so opted. Maybe "verified opt-in" would be better.
  • A spokesmen for the "Drug Dealers of America" released new guidelines for turf wars.

    Spokesman Easy-Q said:
    <sniff>Yo - see, we be sayin' now that it's not good to be cappin' norms. So, like, we be having a rule that we won't be doin' drive-bys 'cept on <racial slur deleted> what be causin' us problems. Norm's don' like getting capped, and we be down wit dat.


    Does this announcement fill you with any more confidence that the DMA?

    In fact, there is a large difference between the DMA and drug dealers - as a general rule, if you tell them you aren't interested in their wares, drug dealers will lose interest and leave you alone.
  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Friday January 25, 2002 @07:24PM (#2904005) Homepage

    This might be of interest:
    RFC-3098 How to Advertise Responsibly Using E-Mail and Newsgroup [rfc-editor.org]

  • And this isn't about the fox guarding the henhouse. They have a larger objective. They understand, for better or worse, that when the voting public gets irate enough with spam that the legislatures will eventually get involved and pass a law to restrict spam and that no matter how good intentioned it might be, it will adversely affect ALL marketers, even those that are doing their best to be nice about it.

    Its happened before. Someone screams about people pirating movies by breaking encryption, and now it becomes illegal to even try breaking encryption. Just as many movies are pirated as before, because the people pirating movies were already breaking the law. Breaking another one doesn't change anything. But a lot of otherwise honest citizens are now restricted in a new way.

    People scream about all the child porn. So what do the lawmakers do? They pass a law that doesn't only outlaw the possession of child porn (which I agree with), but also anything that APPEARS to be child porn, so loosely defined that a girl that LOOKS under 18 wearing a bikini is now defined as child porn. I believe this was overthrown or amended in the courts later, but the point stands.

    The DMA would rather make the effort to get the spammers into some type of compliant mode where the voting public is no longer outraged with them. Since I believe, as I'm sure they do, that this will not actually be all that successful, they at least want to make sure that they, and the companies they represent, can offer a clear cut, honest, consumer friendly way to market via email so that good intentioned, but unaware and misguided legislators don't do something silly like outlawing ALL marketing via email or passing laws that would make something as legitimate as signup mailing lists illegal. It COULD happen, and its better for all involved that the involvement of the government is minimal.

    -Restil
  • I heard that the first step in their campaign was going to involve sending out e-mails announcing the initiative to every business in America.
  • DMA to Control Spam by DMA Members


    Way back when, every PC had a DMA controller built right in! We could transfer spam to /dev/null at full bus bandwidth.

  • here's how the DMA protects you today. A link in the local newspaper jumps me to the DMA website, www.the-dma.org, with the big white box on the left to opt out of unwanted solicitations. the resultant page has internal links to click to opt out of (a) direct mail, (b) telemarketing, (c) spam. all three links go to a 404 page that says "We're sorry, this feature is currently unavailiable."

    yessir, the DMA is shit hot for our privacy.

    why not jump over to the FTC, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall/in dex.htm, instead and file a comment on the Proposed Rule to put the government into whack-a-mole mode on telemarketers. that's the best game in town today.

    if the FTC link is munged up, and I see a space in preview inside the word INDEX, just hit www.ftc.gov and click likely-looking boxes twice to get there.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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