Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

  Netizens rebel against direct marketing

According to the Economist this week:

Over 27 million phone numbers got registered on the US government's new Do Not Call website, in less than one month. I don't know how many real people this is... plenty - more people than voted libertarian in the last election, easily....

The article goes on to claim that 80% of the signups were via the internet, and that the FTC thinks that 60 million phone numbers - 1/3 of all the phone numbers in the US - will be registered as "Do not Call" by the end of the year.

There's metcalfe's law for ya. The usefullness and power of a network system equals the square of the connected users. There's a whole lot of angry, fed up people connected to the internet right now...

Now, given that there are multiple exceptions to the do not call rules, perhaps it is time to push harder - making the default "no calls" - from these exceptions, too. I'd be willing to introduce "choice" to the registry - allowing calls from entities like the above if you so chose - so long as the default is: "No calls, thank you very much, please don't bother me at all, I'm too busy living life."

I wrote last month: Wouldn't it be wonderful if every time you picked up the phone the call was from somebody you wanted to talk to?

Wouldn't it also be great if we could also stop the flood of 4th class mail into our physical mailboxes?

In other news, my system administrator installed the anti-spam tool spamassassin last month. Result: over 400 spams caught (and deleted!). I received 150+ emails that I wanted to receive. Spamassassin's flippin wonderful. (It's more passive than what a russian minister did recently)

I got multiple emails from strangers that I got to immediately, instead of languishing in my main mailbox waiting time for me to sort for them. (I already filtered for friends and business associates) I spent (easily!) half the time dealing with email that I used to. I stopped polling for my email and set up a bell for incoming mail instead. This is the first time in 10 years I've been able to cut my email load to less than an hour a day, and I love it.

The silence of the spams is not a horror movie, but a liberation from pointless distractions.

Shouting back at newspapers, radio or television was increasingly pointless. The rise of these broadcast media drowned out the voices of ordinary citizens. Finally, via the internet, the people can be heard again across the nation, and across the world. I feel ever more confident that this time, next year, the Net will truly reshape the face of politics and business.
 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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