For What It’s Worth

Here are some items to add to the For-What-It’s-Worth File:

· Mailers have been reluctant to talk on the record about the U.S. Postal Service’s reinterpretation of a rule regarding some Standard mail that postal officials say should have been going First Class. Off the record, however, mailers say this is an attempt to boost revenue and get First-Class volume back up. Postmaster general John Potter says it’s the USPS’ “ethical and moral obligation to create a level playing field.” Whatever the case, my guess is that it will end up decreasing mail volume by encouraging financial institutions to use e-mail even more.

· ZoEmail announced a new service last week that it says “completely stops spam and puts people back in control of their e-mail experience.” At least that’s what the e-mail said to an editor here. The service is “based on patents and technologies acquired from AT&T Labs. … And it works without destroying the fun, flexibility and control of the standard e-mail application.” Wow, sounds like a great service. Too bad ZoEmail’s e-mail was blocked as spam by DM News’ anti-spam filters.

· I received a subscription offer the other day from Privacy Journal. As a freebie, it tells me I’m listed in its “Directory of Privacy Professionals” and will give the directory to me if I subscribe to the Privacy Journal newsletter. The offer letter reads: “This invaluable reference resource – newly updated and expanded – lists the names and titles and fax numbers and e-mail addresses of more than 600 organizations and individuals active in the burgeoning field of privacy.” All that’s well and good. It’s a shame, though, that the offer came addressed to “Ted Clarke.” Well, that’s one way to keep my information private.

· Richard Zelma, who is mentioned in our story about CallCommand’s “predator” list, has his own notoriety in the telemarketing world. He’s listed as one of the top Private Citizen Heroes on Robert Arkow’s Web site, “Richard Zelma, owner of a small telephone interconnect service in Norwood, N.J., has been fighting the telemarketers since he saw Robert Bulmash and Bob Arkow talking about consumer rights on Dateline NBC,” Arkow writes. “Upon seeing what Arkow and Bulmash were doing to the telemarketers, Rich turned to his wife and said, ‘There is a God’! Rich has received over $40,000 in judgements and settlements. In the ‘dollars’ category, Rich is truly ‘the king’ when it comes to P.C. Heros. And as Mel Brooks once said: ‘It’s good to be the king’!”

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