March 18, 2008

A Flurry of CAN-SPAM Activity – Is It Meaningful?

A Flurry of CAN-SPAM Activity – But Is It Meaningful? Our four-year old oft maligned anti-spam legislation in this country, the CAN-SPAM act, has seen an uptick of activity this past week.  Melinda Krueger sums up the sentiments of many in the anti-spam community in her Email Insider column today when she says, There is no provision in the act against sending unsolicited email as long as you comply with the rest of the act. The motivation of the act was more to make voters feel politicians were doing something about this annoying problem. In the last two days, however, we got news of ValueClick’s $2.9 million settlement with the FTC over a CAN-SPAM violation (the largest ever), as well as notorious hardcore spammer Robert Soloway pleading guilty on a variety of charges for Really Bad Things, probably including spamming (I’ve read differing reports of his plea, some of which include the CAN-SPAM violation, and some of which don’t). I’ve never felt that CAN-SPAM did all that much to stop sneaky practices.  It has loopholes so large you can drive a semi through it.  People joke that the law means, “yes, you CAN spam.”  Yet, the law does seem to […]


May 15, 2007

Why Exactly Does Anyone Use WebEx?

Why Exactly Does Anyone Use WebEx? We had a terrible experience with WebEx a couple years back, which I blogged about here.  Since then, we’ve happily been using Ready Talk with nary a problem. WebEx’s sales reps spam me all the time, and no matter how many times I try to get off their list, I keep getting the spam.  It’s embarrassing that an e-company is in flagrant violation of CAN-SPAM, the most permissive anti-spam law around. But I’ve been on two or three WebEx calls lately where, sometime in the middle of the call, an automated voice comes on […]


July 28, 2005

Beyond CAN-SPAM: The Nightmare Continues

Beyond CAN-SPAM:  The Nightmare Continues Turn back the clock to the end of 2003.  A bunch of states had recently passed their own anti-spam bills, and California had just passed the then-notorious SB186.  Commercial emailers were freaking out because compliance with a patchwork of state laws for email is nearly impossible given the nature of email and given the differences between the laws.  The reult of the freakout was an expedited, and decent, though far from perfect, federal law called CAN-SPAM which, among other things, preempted most of the individual state laws under the interstate commerce clause.  Most of us […]


June 15, 2005

Counter Cliche: Who’s The Dog in this Scenario?

Counter Cliche:  Who’s The Dog in this Scenario? Fred’s VC cliche of the week is a good one — “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll come up with fleas.” His point is a good and simple one, that VCs shouldn’t take people risks in deals and shouldn’t try to back management teams they have serious concerns about (ethical or otherwise) in the hopes of trying to change the team or change management. The obvious counter cliche is that entrepreneurs run that same risk in accepting capital from less-than-savory venture investors.  An ethically-challenged investor can wreak havoc on a young […]


February 1, 2005

Doing its Part

Doing its Part Fred had a good posting on spam today, riffing on a New York Times article that  is very “doom and gloom” on spam and how it’s taking over the world.  I’ll buy the Times’ argument that there’s an increasing amount of spam out there these days, but as with Fred, I still maintain, as I did in this earlier posting, that we’re out of crisis mode and are on the path to resolution as improved filtering technology and false-positive identification services trickle down to broader usage. What I think is interesting, though is the amount of criticism […]


September 15, 2004

Spam: Crisis, or Approaching Denoument?

Spam: Crisis, or Approaching Denoument? A few interesting comments on this front today. Fred says the crisis is over, everyone should just calm down. Pamela says spam filtering technology is getting really good now. And I had lunch with Saul Hansell from The New York Times today, who thinks that authentication will make a monumental difference. [For those of you who read OnlyOnce and aren’t super technical, authentication is the newest trend that ISPs are starting to employ to snuff out spammers. In a nutshell, it’s a technology like Caller ID that lets an ISP verify who’s sending the mail […]