Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Would the real Slim Shady please stand up?
Ken Magill is Stupid Poopyhead!! That’s right! Magill gives a “Heath Ledger”-quality performance as the arch-villain in the newest movie (in my mind) about the wussiest of all super-heroes, Spamfighter.
Sitting in his spam-cave, Spamfighter has DNSBL, and WHOIS, and ARIN and rDNS lookups strapped tightly into his utility belt, with Spamfighter-boy at his side, and Spamfighter-girl knocking down his door for a booty-call when he should be prowling the darkened streets of Gotham, looking for evil-doers. Except his Mom won’t lend him the Spam-mobile tonight, and Magill has once again sent one of his infamous calling cards.
So here’s the thing: When Ken retired from writing about email to become the business editor of The New York Sun in 2003-2005, his time in Arkham Asylum as it were, and we thought we were done with him.
But no, he was biding his time, and took the nod from Eminem only to return to DM News to start his crime spree afresh! (Make note of the timing - do you really think it was accidentally coincident??)
Now this looks like a job for meCome to think of it, has anyone seen Slim and Ken in the same room at the same time? Talk about alter-egos!
So everybody just follow me
'Cause we need a little controversy,
'Cause it feels so empty without me
Ken's latest crime? A screed called “You Ask for Garbage, You Get it” which actually should be the name of the rss feed for his column, not merely the title of the piece; Contained within is this devious bomblet:
“Double opt-in—I am purposely using this term rather than the others because it’s the one marketers use most and, more importantly, it drives anti-spammers nuts—is the one foolproof way to make sure e-mail addresses people use to sign up for a list are real and accurate.”Woah! Magill is attempting to divert the good and the just from their appointed rounds by intentionally using wrong terms. My GOD! Are there no limits to depths to the evil insanity this villain will plumb? He must be brought to justice, and I’m just the man to do it!
Ken's crime is the one of conflation, one of using a too-broad a brush, nay, a roller, nay nay, a paint-gun to tar us all under the same rubric.
A cigar-chomping bit of nastiness, Ken likes to dive into the NANAE sewer and pull out a few ‘nuggets’, hold them up high and proclaim from the highest mountain tops “Look at this shit”.
Memo to Ken: You’ve got a piece of poo in your hand. Go wash up before dinner.
OK, enough of this overly drawn-out framing of this piece (forgive me, I had fun writing it).
Ken intentionally tweaks the nose of anti-spammers dropping the phrase ‘Double Opt-in’, in the midst of a wonderful piece on using that protocol to confirm subscriptions to email lists.
However, Ken fails to discriminate between various anti-spammers, lumping them all into the same pile. Sure, there are spittle-emitting community members like some found at NANAE, a slightly better grade of individual found at SPAM-l, and the denizens of Zorch, who are a couple of steps up from that.
I, for one, don't care what you call it, just do it, be it confirm or double your opt-in.
But this does beg the question ‘what is an anti-spammer’?
Without the efforts of hard-working volunteers and professionals who now lend their hand to ‘the fight’ against what is very much organized crime, there would be no email infrastructure upon which marketers could ply their trade, let alone one that can be used for one-to-one communications. Sure, some anti-spammers are jackasses, just as there are some marketers who are total dickweeds. But to attribute the fuckery of the one to the many is just plain wrong.
Responsible marketers should have, and do have the admittedly enlightened self-interest of fighting spam just as energetically and vociferously as the most angry, petulant, frothiest-of-mouthed card-carrying NANAE member. In a couple of weeks, the Messaging Anti-abuse Working Group, (the acronym for which my colleague and friend JD Falk rightly notes sounds like something Godzilla might emit: “MAAWG! MAAWG!”) will meet in Florida In September. Talk about selfless bravery – the midst of Hurricane season and we are meeting to talk about spam!
The group will be co-meeting with The Anti-spyware Coalition; the primary concern and focus of the meetings being botnets; bringing together investigators and technical experts from all over the world to coordinate efforts to put an end to this scourge. It brings them all into the same rooms as (gasp!) marketers. See for yourself who the members of MAAWG are.
No, MAAWG is not always the easiest of alliances, antis and marketers in the same rooms is sometimes a tense mating, but a necessary one nevertheless.
Bottom line: Everyone with a stake in email needs to ante up, stop the infighting and ... and ... "can't we all just get along??"
We must all be grateful for the efforts of spamfighters and actively support them. Adopt best practices in their totality, make donations to organizations like CAUCE.org (yes, I'm the Executive Director).
Without MAAWGers, and without the NANAEites and even without people who get all upset because Confirmed Opt-in is now, in popular nomenclature, "Double Opt-in", we’d all be sunk.
Ken old bean, you Stupid Poopyhead, without anti-spammers, even the obnoxious ones, you and I would be out of work. Well, you would, anyway.
By the way, I owe you a stogie for having stretched this framing an analogy far beyond reasonable limits, and tweaking your bulbous nasus repeatedly. Your piece on Confirmed Opt-in was a great one, which I will surely bookmark for future reference. It lays out the argument as to why marketers must implement it, and implement it now, in a coherent fashion and from a strong pro-marketing voice. But Ken, please, stop drawing lines between members of the email community, they only exacerbate deep divisions we must pave over if we are to be successful in staunching the flow of spam.
And thanks for the piece on COI/DOI. The Anti-spammers owe you major props.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I have always thought Grace Kelly to be the most beautiful woman to have ever walked the earth. I have a 1961 copy of Life magazine with Fidel Castro on the cover, I was scanning the artwork for a friend, and discovered this remarkable shot.