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WE HAVE SPAM! - Editorial Updated 24-Mar-09

Editorial Updated 24-Mar-09 by WE HAVE SPAM!
Does SPAM annoy you? Stupid question, huh?

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Nobody can deny that the Internet is the most valuable tool to come to the attention of the Embedded Systems marketplace. However, as a Webmaster, an Engineer, and a Journalist, I can tell you that some companies still have a long way to go in learning how to use the Internet properly.

The main way that Companies place us at risk of spam is by:

  1. Using an external company to manage their bulk mailings . Often, these are "internet marketing companies" that manage the distribution, subscription, and (ha!) unsubscription of email addresses. You can tell if you are subject to one of these mailings if the return address on the email you received is not the same domain as the associated vendor . There is a very good chance that this company is going to either sell your email address, or use it for their own private spamming.
  2. Opting you into a mailing list without your permission . This is why I often don't give out my business card at trade shows anymore. If a company will rudely sign me up for their mailing list based upon having your business card in your pocket - that is SPAM . A mailing list needs to be opt-in - that is, you need to voluntarily decide to be on the mailing list. If someone decides to simply add me to their mailing list just because they've got your business card, then there's nothing to prevent them from sharing your email address with anyone they want.
  3. Ignoring bounced emails . They don't care if their addresses invalid or not, because they get to claim they have X number of addresses on their email list. Who cares if half of them bounce???

I don't know about you, but I get hundreds of spam emails a day. So, besides not having those companies listed on Microcontroller.com, as a service to you, my loyal viewers (hello!), I'm going to start snitching on them - right here right now.

These are the Spammers that have decided to spam me with their mailing list without my consent .

  • DataConnectors(dot)com 24-Mar-09 - They decided to opt me into their mailing list without my permission, and I've been getting their stuff every single day. Reported to SpamCop.
  • Dedicated-Systems(dot)net 27-Jan-2009 - These people first started spamming me with their newsletter back in 2001. They stopped when asked. But now, here it is eight years later, and after receiving a very rude opt-in email ("Guess what! You're subscribed! Too bad!"), every two or three days they are shoving their email newsletter at me again.
  • Nuvation as of Jan-2005, and again on 26-April-2007. Update 13-Aug-08 . I'm officially blaming Manticore for my involuntary opt-in to Nuvation's email list. I received a very considerate email from Nuvation and I'm convinced that they are blameless. It looks like Manticore, the 3rd party emailer, was to blame.
  • RedCellX
  • Ampro Computers
  • Vishay Intertechnology as of 4-Mar-2003
  • Insidechips - added me from an old business card as of 27-Apr-2005
  • SOCCentral - from an old business card as of 4-Dec-2004
  • IT Solution Journal - I have no idea how they got my email address, but they get flagged as hard spam, by my system because they fail reverse-DNS and SPF checks. as of 28-Apr-2005
  • The Kronos Group - not only did they opt me into their newsletter without my permission, but they did it in the absolutely worse way - using one of those lousy online address book sites that harvest email addresses, as well as other personal information.
  • Trump University as of 18-Oct-06 - I'm HUGE fan of The Donald, but there's something funny in Provo, Utah. Anyone signing up for the Trump University mailing list receives spam for photo contests, diet drugs, pet medication, government loans, and low-interest mortgages - all from servers in Provo, Utah. I blame the company managing the Trump U mailing list.
  • EmbeddedCommunity.cöm as of 21-Nov-06 - I don't know who they are, they just suddenly opted my private email address into their mailing list without my permission.
  • Kontron as of 7-Mar-07 - I never opted in, and even after I unsubscribed, they continue to send me spam, so I reported them to Spamcop.

Since this editorial was published, I've been contacted by RedCellX and they've assured me that they are now internally managing the subscription & distribution of their email newsletters.

13-Aug-08 Update: except for SOCCenteral, none of the above companies have been spamming me!

These are the worst offenders. By that I mean, when their spam is bounced by my highly respected anti-spam system, their server ignores the bounce . Not very professional, huh?

The Internet is well past it's infancy state. It's here. The revolution is over. We are living in the aftermath of the Internet infancy. Ignorance of the Internet is never an excuse . And it's about time that companies stopped treating their websites and email policies like it's a hobby, right? While most large companies have sophisticated systems to monitor their employees email and telephone calls, isn't it sad that most companies don't know to mange their own websites, or have no real concern over protecting the privacy of their clients?

What can you do about it? Well, for starters, if a company opts you into their mailing list, COMPLAIN IMMEDIATELY. Don't just email them - call them on the phone and complain. And, if a company places you on a mailing list managed by an "internet marketing company", complain LOUDLY - and tell me.

For the record, Microcontroller.com will introduce an email newsletter after we've set up a system where your privacy is assured.

- Bill Giovino
Executive Editor
Created:10-Dec-2002, Updated:24-Mar-2009

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