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…hard to kill.
As a society, we’ve gotten pretty good at launching new things. New ideas, new technologies, new flavors.
But we’re really bad at killing off the bad stuff. They still sell hot dogs at ball games. We still have answering machines at home. And, as Bruce Sterling points out, we still have incandescent light bulbs. Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die
The question worth asking is: Could our organizations (big and small) get better at regularly discarding what doesn’t work any more? (he says as he types on a qwerty keyboard giving him carpal tunnel).
Yesterday, I got 255 pieces of spam between 3 pm and 5 pm. My friend Michael gets 500 a day. And a journalist I know, Rebecca, gets 5,000 every weekend. For those that think spam is just a nuisance, add a zero and then think about it. How long would it take YOU to sort through and delete 5,000 emails?
A problem with our networked world is that so many problems are becoming exponential ones.
The thing about spam that’s really surprising and makes me distraught is that previously reputable marketers (but lazy ones, apparently) are willing to risk their entire brand for a few bucks. Herb Cohen, who’s a fine writer, is apparently working with Warner (who should know better) on this sort of scheme. Publishers Weekly writes:
> For her next trick, McColl will do a one-day blast for Herb Cohen’s
> new book, “Negotiate This! By Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much.” Published
> by Warner Books, the title is now sitting at number 838 at Amazon. On
> Oct. 7, an e-mail will go out with a sales pitch similar to the one
> sent for “The Saint.” The message will promise $644 worth of free
> self-help material for buying on that day. It will proclaim that Cohen
> wants his book, “at the top of the Amazon.com charts today, October
> 7th and he needs your help to make it happen, and for doing so, he has
> created an offer that will have you stunned.”
Peggy McColl is a spammer, sending out more than a million emails at a time to people, directing them to Amazon to buy “self-help” books. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t ask Peggy to send me mail. Is this the worst kind of V*agra sort of spam? No, of course not. That’s why it bothers me so much. Once the harvesting of sort-of approximately-maybe it’s-kind-of-focused-by-topic opt-out spam becomes socially acceptable, you can certainly bet that we’ll be adding one or two more zeroes to the volume of spam that comes in every day.
The ironic twist is that Amazon spent about $33 a person building their truly permission-based opt-in list. For someone to walk in and spend .1% of that in order to have a thin shroud of respectability pulls the entire structure apart. It means that anyone who markets the right way has an even harder time starting tomorrow.
If you know Peggy or Herb or Warner, drop them a line. Let them know that acting like the DMA–that assuming that people WANT to get your junk–is a great way to ruin their brand.