Copyright © 2013 by Norman W. Wilson, Ph.D.
Originally published by 1stturningpoint.com
The most familiar and widely used form of spamming is unsolicited commercial email. Among the more offensive are those that may be categorized as ‘meet’. Meet singles, Meet 50+, and all the attached ethnic labels. Let’s not forget all of those enhancer ads for parts of the male anatomy. Hit delete and move on.
The source of the term spam may be from the 1970′s Spam Sketch on the BBC, specifically the Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Others claim the term came from the early 1980′s use of bulk unsolicited advertising. This practice was called Sales Promotion and Marketing, thus the acronym–Spam. The earliest actual use of multiple messaging was by Gary Turk of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1978. He had a message sent to just under 400 people. Prior to this, email was sent individually. Most likely, the first major commercial spam took place in 1994 when a husband-wife lawyer team (Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel) used bulk posting to advertise their immigration law services. However, Sanford Wallace of Cyber Promotions in the late 1990′s was a chief contributor to making spam a predominantly email strategy.
Email spamming became an issue as the public connected to the internet in the late 20th Century. The reason for this increase in spamming is it’s an economically viable thing for advertisers to do. There are few operating costs beyond managing an email list or lists. And that has generated another business–the selling of email addresses for mass distribution.
Much of the spam email is sent by unsuspecting home computers that have been infected with virus or worm infected messages. An author’s name attached to such notices becomes an immediate persona non grata.
One has to question the monetary gain by such a practice. An acquaintance decided to buy 2500 email addresses and send out an invitation to a financial seminar. Twenty people showed up. Besides paying for the list, and the rental costs for a meeting room, the costs of refreshments had to be absorbed. Not one sale or new client resulted from that effort. Do authors who blanket their written works unceremoniously all over the place make significant sales? It’s doubtful especially in view of the poor sales showing at author-signings where there is direct contact.
A beginning author who commercially spams runs a huge risk of having all of his or her communications tossed into the junk mail box. With the newer filtering systems available, the chance of acknowledgement is even slimmer. The response to large corporations using mass mailings is less than one percent. Why then, would an author want to use mass emailing?
Imagine the risk if that author spams his own group of professional writers. They are the worst of the worst of all offenders. These individuals, believing they are being very subtle and clever, load up their comments in discussions with photos of their books as their avatar, slipping in the titles of their current books, and listing a link to their books sell page. Typical lines go something like this: “I just finished signing a contract for my new novel No Name with XYZ Publishing and would like to know how to set up a book signing.” Others include “I’m looking for someone to review my novel, The ABCXYZ, soon to be published by (name of publisher). And then there’s this type, “Just completed my website. Check it out at URL and let me know what you think of the layout for my latest novel, The Name of the Novel. You can contact me at….”
Such behavior is inexcusable by members of professional writing groups whose goal and purpose is directly related to the craft of writing. When advised that such behavior is not allowed these ‘spammers’ get insulted, throw childish tantrums, and end with such threats as “I’m out of here.” If that doesn’t work, these offenders of considerate decorum try to rally other members of the group against the management. Good friend and fellow owner/manager of a group, Charlotte Boyett-Compo puts it this way: ”There is little difference between spamming and cramming self-promotion down an unwilling throat. Neither is welcome and both are unproductive.”
Have you ever met a shaman? Norman Wilson has. He was seven years old, and it triggered a lifelong curiosity for other worlds and cultures. Eventually, he wrote a series of essays on shamanism, which are now available as Shamanism: What It's All About. His doctorate in the humanities allowed him to study other systems, particularly the myths of the Ancient Greeks, and to examine in depth the Romantic poets, novelists, painters, and musicians. Like those Romanticists, Norman also has a deep abiding fascination with the world of mythology. That interest has wound its way into his novel The Shaman's Quest and the remaining five in my series, Shamanic Mysteries. Norman lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington State with his talented wife, photographer Suzanne V. Wilson, and they are ruled by three cats, who graciously allow them to reside in their abode. He has over 200 articles published on the internet, several college textbooks, and three novels published.