I find this discussion rather weird. Here's why:

UCE, unsolicited commercial e-mail, is considered particularly offensive 
when it is not targeted, such as a mailing to a million addresses with 
"Need to make money fast?" I think we all would agree that this is *spam*. 
It wastes a small amount of time (and sometimes money) for *many* persons; 
therefore the cost to society is high, while the cost to the spammer is 
very low, even if he loses his ISP account. He can always get another.

Ordinary "junk mail", even though it is typically unsolicited, is not 
nearly as offensive or as ubiquitous because
         (1) It is largely targeted, because
         (2) It cost the mailer significant money for each piece mailed.
         (3) It takes very little time to toss it in the recycle bin.

However, targeted mail, such as the DACafe mailing being discussion, is a 
very different proposition.

The advice to never respond to spam applies to mass mailers, who will 
almost certainly resell your address if you respond, since your response 
proves that your address is valid.

But DACafe is a recognized organization serving our professions. They 
exhibit at PC Design Conference. And I am quite sure that they will not 
resell my address to PornographyisUs.com if I write them to unsubscribe to 
their newsletter. (I explicitly subscribed, so I can't tell if I would have 
been sent it unsolicited.)

Now, presumably, nearly all the subscribers to the Techserv list are 
professionals involved with electronic design. It would seem to be a 
violation of list rules to take addresses from this list and mail to them 
for commercial purpose. However, I've certainly received unsolicited mail 
from other members of the list, and some of it had some commercial aspect, 
such as offering services or requesting services. Because it was personally 
composed and addressed to me, I took no offense, indeed I am pleased.

The list rules do not actually prohibit the taking of addresses:

>Spam Free
>Registration and subscription information that you provide is held in 
>strict confidence. Your email address or other information will not be 
>sold or given to other companies for any reason. Likewise, spam is not 
>permitted in any user group forum. Only subscribed members are able to 
>post messages on the forums. Any violator will be immediately and 
>permanently removed from the list.

That says that Techserv will not sell our addresses. It does not explicitly 
prohibit any of us from taking addresses and doing with them what we like. 
However, probably Techserv intended to prohibit this, they merely did not 
express it coherently. But if a designer on this list writes an unsolicited 
mail to another writer on the list, soliciting design work, for example, I 
would not consider that "spam." Spam, to me, is, by definition, not 
personal and not targeted.

One comment in this thread seemed to stem from a misunderstanding of what 
Techserv has allowed itself to do. Techserv has promised not to reveal our 
addresses to "other companies." They have not promised to prevent companies 
from mailing *to the list,* through the normal list channel. Rather, they 
have set fees for advertising. Spam is almost always advertising but not 
all advertising is spam. If Techserv sells an ad, it will appear on this 
list like every other post.

Now, if some company wants to spend $100 or more to send this list a mail, 
I want to see it. There is a high probability that it is of interest. 
Otherwise why would they spend the money?

This list, like most mailing lists, reveals to all readers the email 
address of authors. The yahoogroups archive of this list, however, conceals 
the addresses of writers, if I am correct. Only if you put your address in 
your post, as in the signature, will your address be revealed.

If you don't want to get any unsolicited mail, targeted or otherwise, don't 
put your email address in your signature!

And don't waste your time trying to swat down DACafe. I'm quite sure they 
are following their ISP's rules. If you don't want to get their newsletter, 
follow the unsubscribe instructions! The generic spam rule of "don't reply" 
does not apply here.

Abdulrahman Lomax
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433

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