EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 12 - April 22, 2000 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 11

No Thanks, Iím on a No-Spam Diet!

By Hartriono Sastrowardoyo

Email This Story to a Friend

I bought a computer mouse through eBay. One day, I received an email from that seller with a 12K file attached. The file, when opened, contained a story on how the U.S. Postal Service was going to impose a surcharge on emails. I replied (a bit hot under the collar) to the sender that the story was false and that he should check - they have a disclaimer stating that this isn't so.

The sender's response to my email said, in part, "I guess you're right. I checked it further, and found out this e-mail has been around for a while and there's no truth to it. What if it was true? Wouldn't you want to know about it? I didn't know if it was [true], but thought I would let people decide for themselves."

Well, no, I wouldn't want to know about it.

Let's take that 12K file. I have dealt with about 1,000 people total buying and selling on eBay. If all 1,000 people felt that I had to decide for myself whether or not that email message was true, that would mean my mailbox would be clogged up with 12 Megs worth of messages. And that's just one message. As a comparison, my Web site space is limited to 10 Megs.

If we assume that these 1,000 people also think I want to sign up with PayPal,...or that I want to get paid to surf the Web using,...or that I could use a service to accept credit cards for my auctions,...or that I can brighten up someone's day by forwarding the message on to ten of my friends,...that's four more messages. (We've all received these kinds of email messages from eBayers we've done transactions with.)

If all those emails contain 12K file attachments, that's a total of 60 megs for all five examples. For another comparison, my Zip drive disks I use to back up files has a capacity of 100 Megs. Do you want to wade through 60 Megs of messages? Can your server stand an onslaught of such a magnitude?

If those numbers are too abstract, I'll use another example. I received a forwarded email, asking me to pass it on, because "Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the largest Internet company, and in an effort to make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an E-mail beta test. When you forward this E-mail to friends, Intel can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two-week time period." There was also a rate schedule on how much would be paid depending on how many people were contacted, and the whole message, when printed out, ran to 24 pages! Most of it was headers, because the message also implored people "do not delete any part of this e-mail.... All names must appear." Let's take my 1,000 buyers and sellers and multiply that by the 24 pages-that's 24,000 sheets of paper, or 48 reams, or almost 5 cases of paper - just for this one example! I don't have the time to sift through that much information. I doubt most people do.

So, take me off your list. Furthermore, don't pass on information without checking into it first. While it may be okay to email a person if they had an interest in a particular item ("Hey, you had bid on an item from me and lost, thought you might be interested in a similar item I have up."), don't assume that the person on the other end will be interested in any other sort of solicitation.

As for me, I'll get my information from TV and the newspaper. But do email me when you get that check from Intel, okay?

About the author:

Hartriono Sastrowardoyo is a freelance writer and stringer for a weekly newspaper. His eBay ID is "thesigninsheet".

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.