June 8, 2008

Tangible Spam

The problem with spammers is they don’t think about their actions. They are in the game for short term profit. They don’t understand that the long term is adversely affected by the tactical decisions made today. The environment loses, E-vironment and otherwise.

Spam is usually referencing email communications. Sending email to huge lists of people without regard to who they are, what they are interested in or why they are getting your advertisements has been done for a long time. Bad marketers view it as a no lose situation. Email doesn’t cost anything (or so little as to be nominal) and so sending to millions of people is a plausible idea. This doesn’t work with normal postal mail because it costs $0.41 (or is it $0.42 now?); less for bulk rate, but significant none the less. So marketers had to target their audience. There budgets and value propositions weren’t strong enough on their own to send at large quantities.

What’s more, spamming through the mail is generally an accepted practice. Sounds odd, but it’s true. We can’t afford to send to everyone and so the spam we receive is kept to a reasonable amount (though the idea of reasonable here is subjective). But email is different. It doesn’t cost anything. Seth thinks that email should cost .25 cents (at least he used to). I like his line of reasoning, though I’m thinking we can find better regulation through electronic means without actually charging for the medium.

That sort of covers what’s happening electronically. Now what about tangible spam? This morning I got up for breakfast with a friend and found a post it note on my car advertising some money opportunity (I don’t read spam) or something. Sticking to my car. What angers me about this is that the spammer in question doesn’t care that a lot of people are going to throw this onto the ground. It’s as good as litter once it’s stuck to most vehicles. This type of thing should be illegal.

My friends car got tagged too, as you can see on the right.

Many people would say that it isn’t that big of a deal or I’m making too much of it. Well those sentiments are both wrong. If you want my attention, you have to develop a relationship with me the right way. Most importantly, this is just polluting our environment in a similar fashion to the way spam makes it impossible to post your email online any more. Bots take it and spam it. And this isn’t just one situation. Fax “blasts”, unsolicited direct mail, fliers and other tangible marketing cut down a ridiculous amount of trees every year. What’s worse, this kind of marketing doesn’t work worth a damn.

Guess where it ends up? Lo and behold, on our walk back from Sunny Side Up Cafe we had multiple sightings of the only logical ending place. Sad.

Get a clue. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s right.

I can customize post it notes as well, but I respect our environment enough to not do it and, as a nonplus, understand that it’s not generating any worthwhile ROI anyway.



  1. Great stuff R.Ed! I’m glad I made it into your blog series. Unfortunately, the situation was a negative one. A positive ending to this: I did recycle my post-it note.

    Comment by Jason-Spamming Victim — June 11, 2008 @ 5:04 am

  2. Thanks for the pose! BTW hit me up later for some blogroll stuff on SEO/SEM.

    Comment by Robert John Ed — June 11, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

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