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BSDSearch spam followup 2 March 2001
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In the 3 or so days since the BSDSearch spam, Garry Dolley appeared to be more angry at the BSD community than the BSD community is disappointed at BSDSearch.  This was witnessed by a couple of threads in the BSDSearch forums which provide interesting reading.  The first thread is in the Suggest a Forum section and the second thread is in the General forum.

BSDSearch have admitted that yes, they did indeed send out the spam.  Their main excuse seems to be that sent it to the wrong list:

I know, sorry, we sent out the emails to the wrong list... it was too late to stop the process when we realized what we'd done!!!

BSDSearch have since stated they now know that bulk email is not the way to spread the word about their site:

Rather, I see spamming a list as much more horrible than an individual, regardless of whether I have misgivings about either. My intent was not to spam and piss people off, I just wanted to let more of the BSD community know about my site. I now know that bulk email is not a way to do this.

This is highly commendable and is a vast improvment upon their initial statements.    I know BSDSearch may be very upset at the reaction of the BSD community, but I don't understand what they expected.  You can see their feelings wee quite clear in this extract from one of their messages:

No bullshit there. Crucify me for trying to get the word out about my site. Please note, I DID NOT WANT spam to out to the mailing lists, I know this is very very wrong. I have gateway'd mailing lists on THIS VERY FUCKING SITE so go read the note that I've always had on the top of each gateway'd forum. I intentionally do not relay posts from this site into the lists, they are *read-only*. I do this to
keep the 'noise' on the lists low... so OBVIOUSLY why the hell would I want to spam the very lists I try to PROTECT?? Again, read the message above, it tells more...

All in all, I've never received so many whiny, bitchy and anal posts & emails as I have now. I can't believe I'm even wasting my time explaining myself. I'm sorry it turned out this way. Delete the spam, don't come back to my site, hang me, and GET THE @!#$ OVER IT.

BSDSearch is saying they did not want to spam the mailing lists. But they didn't seem to have the same level of concern about the non-mailing list spam which was sent.

BSDSearch refers to the BSD community reaction as "whiny, bitchy and anal posts & emails".  That is hardly an effective way to deal with complaints.   There are two issues here:

  1. BSDSearch spammed what they thought was their target audience.  When that very group complained about their actions, BSDSearch considered them to be "whiny, bitchy and anal".  That's very poor customer service. If the client complains, listen and do something about it.
  2. Complaints are vital to success.  If you are seen to act professionally and deal with complaints in a courteous and helpful manner, that will create a much better atmosphere.  Organizations which consider legitimate complaints as a waste of time soon find themselves left alone.  Very alone.

In another post, BSDSearch has admitted that they did compile a list of BSD people.   BSDSearch seem to be concerned that mailing lists were included in the mailout:

My friend made a list of emails of BSD people. He's not a BSD person, just someone who wanted to help me in marketing of the site.  I didn't know that he had mailing list addresses in there (he doesn't know a mailing list address from a regular one), and I definetely gave him the third degree after I found out that we spammed multiple lists multiple times.

But BSDSearch apparently have no qualms about spamming individuals:

I'm sorry that emails sent out to just plain email addresses has pissed so many people off, I usually just press 'd' when I get spam and get on with my day.

BSDSearch appear to think that's it's OK to spam so long as you don't spam mailing lists.  I know they are claiming it was an accident, but I still cannot comprehend how they compiled a list of 900 people and then spam them.  Accidentally.  But in this message Garry has said that they have destroyed the list:

We made the list. About 900 people were on it.

> Can you assure us that you have deleted this list?
No, how would I be able to do that? I can't prove it's deleted. YES, it IS deleted, but I can't ASSURE you, you just have to trust me.

BSDSearch have concluded that as a marketing tool, spam is a bad choice.

I was reading my neighbour's kids a bed time story last night.  In it were three wishes.  Here are my three wishes

  • My first wish was that BSDSearch had never done this.  It's great that they are trying to promote their site and support the BSD community.  It's just unfortunate that BSDSearch were not Internet-savvy enough to realize that spam is not the way to improve your profile. Spam tends to alienate you rather than draw people around you.   That wish also includes a hope that others will also learn from this incident and will not go down the same path. Spam is not a marketing tool.
  • My second wish is that BSDSearch have learned something about this and will eventually acknowledge they were wrong to compile a list, issue a formal apology, and state that they will not spam again.  [actually, this wish has already been granted]
  • My third wish is that BSDSearch does progress on and become a valuable BSD resource contributing to the community.

cheers


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