Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 10:11:32 -0500


Subject: Re: An Ad and a Question

The question first: What are your opinions of the posting of ads like the

following on ADS-L? Do you think all commerical ads should be banned from

the list (which would be difficult to enforce, of course, since right now

(rest deleted)

I am strong against advertisement of almost any form on lists.

If ads start appearing, they will never leave.

Already there are newsgroups conceded to ads (those with the prefix

biz.) and I really don't have a problem with these, since it's like the

home shopping channel. If you want to tune in, you can, otherwise you

never see it. But distributing ads through listservers is a horrible

idea. It is the equilalent of junk mail, only worse. The negligible

costs of sending these means that anyone can do it, so you will start

getting messages from all over.

The sample ad with the original post was for a product that may interest

people on this list, but think of all the products that would interest

us; you could get several ads a day easily. We had problems on the

CELTIC-L list recently when (1) someone used the distribution for a

completely unrelated product, and (2) someone was trying to get addresses

for a celtic products catalog. The first instance was easy, no one

wanted to hear it, but the second was touchy, some people were interested

in the catalog.

CELTIC-L maintains files on the listserver computer that contain

information on subject such as celtic bookstores and language courses. I

propose that route as a solution to the ads. If retailers wants to

distribute information to list members, they can send information to the

listowner and be added to the file. Then when members want information

on products, they can get the file. This would entail people learning

just a bit about listserver database commands, but it is not hard at all.

In the meantime, whenever people receive an ad, it is quite important

that they let the sender know how they feel. I always send back a note

stating that this is not allowed. I have gotten into many arguements,

but I have found that many of the ads come from people who honestly don't

know much about the internet and did not know that there was anything

wrong with what they are doing.

A stronger tactic for the regular advertisers is to send a message to

"postmaster[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]..." and then include their address behind the [AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] symbol.

Tell the postmaster that this person (include their address and a copy of

the ad) has been advertising and ask the postmaster to deal with them.

I'm sorry to ramble on, but this is a real problem and it will get

worse. Some of these people are like the automated phone advertisers:

they are willing to annoy a thousand people just to make one sale. The

low cost of distributing information on the net is a powerful lure.

Tom McClive