In the E-Mails

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You may recall how our friends at the Orlando Sentinel described the industry during the Direct Marketing Association's fall show in 2003. Since I remember the headline so well - "Spammers, Telemarketers Share Secrets in Orlando" - I chuckled when I received an e-mail offer from the Sentinel the other day on behalf of the general manager at the local Chrysler Jeep dealership, who needed to unload 79 cars to meet his monthly quota. Now, let me take a moment to clarify that in no way was this e-mail spam. I had signed up to receive marketing offers from the Sentinel so I could read stories on its subscription-only Web site.

The fine print at the end of the e-mail says that I received the e-mail as part of the Sentinel's effort to "incorporate advertising that allows us to bring you our award-winning editorial content at no charge." Most newspapers have added this requirement to their Web sites in the past two years. However, let's read further in the Sentinel's e-mail: "If you do not wish to receive solicitations sent by Orlando Sentinel Communications on behalf of third parties, you will have to unregister from our service. Please note - if you decide to unregister, there are certain areas on that you will not be able to access." Um, now wouldn't that be the stories? My question: Is this the future we face to access content?

I received another e-mail last week that had me scratching my head. This one was a phisher's odd approach to make a "security alert" from Washington Mutual look authentic. After the usual spiel about how there were several unsuccessful attempts to log into my account, the message went on to describe how Washington Mutual collects and shares personal information. Then it ended by saying how to be added to the DMA's Mail Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service. So, they want you to opt out of mail and phone calls, but their spam will keep coming?

27 Years in the Making

It took more than a quarter of a century, but two firsts happened at last week's John Caples International Awards ceremony. It was the first time that two agencies tied for the Best of Show award. Congratulations to Proximity London and Proximity BBDO France for sharing the top honor. The other first was the DMA's recognition that the Caples even exist by being a platinum sponsor. As DMA president/CEO John Greco told Caples founder Andi Emerson and the audience, "It's better late than never." My, things are a-changing.

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