Letter: Tarring All With the Same Brush

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As somebody who's not one of the screaming, bomb-throwing, death-threat-leaving anti-spam lunatic fringe, I'm yet again disappointed and even a bit insulted by Ken Magill's column ("Anti-Spam Culture Helped Spawn List Theft," Sept. 30).

Yes, there are kooks, ranters and even some genuinely scary people in the anti-spam "community." They make a lot of noise, they're good copy. But they're no more typical of those of us who are trying to work within the system to effect change than are the lunatic fringe of any emotionally charged conflict, from Northern Ireland to abortion to Florida election recounts. (And, no, I'm not equating spam as having equal importance with those life-or-death issues.)

Yes, there have been "eight years of hysterical vitriol" from some of the anti-spam camp. There also have been eight years of scams, fraud, porn distributed willy-nilly and other egregious abuses from some of the marketing community - the spammers. It's no more fair to tar all of us with the same brush than it is to equate all Direct Marketing Association members with the lowest-common-denominator porn spammer.

I see a lot of idiot things written about spam by reporters, and I almost never respond. In your case, however, it really disappoints me when you write something like you did [last week], given that you obviously truly know what you're talking about when it comes to direct marketing, and your readers trust what you say.

(These opinions are mine alone, but to place my remarks into context, I'm a co-founder and the chief spokesperson for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail.)

John C. Mozena, moz@panix.com

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