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Date:      Sat, 23 Jun 2001 13:09:59 -0700
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm@toybox.placo.com>
To:        "Bill Moran" <wmoran@iowna.com>, <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: [OT] Spam from Windriver - how should I react?
Message-ID:  <000001c0fc20$7ad7f420$1401a8c0@tedm.placo.com>
In-Reply-To: <3B337E1B.65DBBAAA@iowna.com>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Bill Moran
>Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 10:19 AM
>To: freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: [OT] Spam from Windriver - how should I react?
>

Well, there's spammers and there's spammers..

>
>I recently got an email from Windriver. The more I try to forget about
>it, the more I think about it. And the more I think about it, the
>stranger it seems.
>I'd be interested as to what others think.
>First off, the message technically falls into the UBE category, since I
>never opted-in to receive general messages from Windriver, or
>FreeBSDMall (which is what the message is about).

There's no question that this is spam, it meets the criteria.  I myself got
one
and I didn't even have a 4.3 CD on order, so their message about delays
of 4.3 doesen't even apply to me.  Prior business contact in my opinion is
not a factor on whether an item is spam or not.  All that is required to
classify
an e-mail transmission as spam is that it's sent to a large list of people
who
are not a part of an established mailing list where they have made it clear
that they wish to receive bulk mail transmissions.

However, I think that it should be made clear that while this _technically_
is spam, in that their entire contact list got it, the _spirit_ behind the
transmission was not that of a spammer.  I liken this to the trucker who
accidentially has a box of roofing nails fall off his truck on the highway.
He didn't deliberately set them out there - but the damage to the tires
of the cars that follow him is the same as if he had malevolently dropped
nails on the highway.

Unfortunately when you write laws you cannot take intent into account - only
a judge/prosecutor can do that.  Technically (and legally in some
jurisdictions)
what Wind River did is a violation of the "Do Not Spam" directive.  However,
you need to be the judge of whether their intent was evil.

My judgement is that their intent was to contact people that had orders
pending
and since their order system is probabally trashed, if they can't ship out
the CD's then they certainly can't identify (at this time) who has orders or
not.  So they had no choice but to e-mail the entire customer base.

My guess is that spamming the customer base was even done at all because
they
have been spending a lot of time answering requests from people that have
pending orders, and the hope is that money loss caused by the damage done by
spamming is going to be less than the money loss caused by attempting to
respond individually to the undoubtedly hundreds and hundreds of queries
they
have been getting.  They probably feel that no matter what they did they
were screwed.

My advice is that if your bothered by it then it's certainly OK to send a
_polite_ mail back to them complaining, and requesting that they don't
do it again.  Approach this from the perspective of a father attempting to
guide an errant child that's still learning about what they have gotten
into.  There's nothing wrong with complaining about something you see wrong
in business as long as your polite, (Politics is something
different, of course) after all you ARE their customer.


Ted Mittelstaedt                      tedm@toybox.placo.com
Author of:          The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:         http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com



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