TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: FTC Do Not Call List

Re: FTC Do Not Call List
14 Dec 2005 07:07:28 -0800 wrote:

> This must not be a true statement, since otherwise there would be no
> telemarketing calls, expecially. It is a labor intensive business and
> must provide a sufficient return to the operators of such services to
> make a profit. Otherwise they would go bankrupt.

Would you have any figures? How much does a telemarketing campaign
cost to run and what is its rate of return?

Lately I've been innundated by political calls. How many recipients
minds are changed and react as desired to the telephone request? (The
calls lately aske me to call my congerssman in support or against some
particular pending measure).

> Spam is not nearly so expensive to originate, but it, too, has costs
> and must provide a sufficient return that it is not true that ALL
> consumers do not want it.

Again, what are the costs and benefits? Spam is particularly odious
because the sender's costs are very low and the recipients end up
paying for them.

In any event, people have always responded to socially undesirable
antics. That doesn't mean we should accept or tolerate them. Most
people think prostitution ought to remain illegal even though it has,
is, and will be always well patronized. It doesn't mean we like it.

> Actually, I have occasionally gotten e-mails, mostly spam, form
> organizations or businesses with which I do have a legitimate business
> relationship, which make offers that I have responded to favorably and
> which, in at least one case, have saved me money.

The emails you describe fall outside a strict definition of spam.
Most people associate genital enlargement or NIgerian oil ministers or
get rich quick schemes with spam.

> Defining spam in some cases becomes very controversial.

I don't think so.

Mark Crispin wrote:

> The general problem is the considerable cost in going after spammers.
> It is almost impossible to recover more than a fraction of these
> costs, even when there is complete success in prosecution and seizure
> of the spammer's ill-gotten gains.

Could you elaborate on this issue?

There are two aspects of enforcement. One is via the criminal justice
system, where a spammer is prosecuted for violating a law and upon
conviction, sent to jail. The government assumes the cost of
investigation and prosecution.

The other is via the civil system, where a private party (or the
government) initiates a civil lawsuit against another person in the
hopes of collecting monetary damages. In some cases it is easier to
win a civil case than a criminal case (note certain high profile
murder cases recently), but "winning" a case is only part of it. The
first part is winning your claim, that is, the court agreeing with
your case. That in itself doesn't mean very much. The second part is
the court awarding damages to you for your loss. You may be awarded
only a nominal amount, ranging from literally $1.00 or a few hundred
or thousand dollars (to a big corporation, this is meaningless). To
the defendant, it is merely a cost of doing business and no big deal.
The third part is the defendant's ability to pay. Even if you are
awarded a large settlement, you must collect it from the defendant.
Apparently some of these guys are pretty slimy and have their assets
well hidden or declare bankruptcy. If there is ENOUGH willpower, the
government can push aside those smokescreens, but it takes an enormous
willpower not usually available. (In one rare case, a man claiming he
is broke has been held in jail for ten years to force him to come up
with the money the court believes he has hidden somewhere).

>> I don't understand Internet message addressing, but it seems to me any
>> initiated message should have a secured sender's address address.

> Technically, this is impossible with the current mechanisms used by
> Internet mail. Nothing short of a complete redesign from the ground
> up will accomplish it. An effort to create a new Internet email
> infrastructure would be extraordinarily expensive and complex. It
> would make the conversion to TCP and SMTP in 1983 look trivial by
> comparison.

I'm not at all sure it would be as a complex process as you suggest.
The internet is software driven, not hardware driven; that is, it's
not like someone going out and physically rewiring every PC and server
in the world. Rather, it is developing new software and downloading

Very often I am offered upgrades for various Internet software
compnents -- the PDF reader, basic browser, news reader, "flash
player", basic PC operating system, etc. Actually I'm quite content
with a bare bones system, but I've found that won't work. If you
don't keep up, in a very short time your browser just won't work at
all -- some site will simply reject you and tell you to get a new
browser. My point is that with all these upgrades constantly going
out it shouldn't be that big a deal to download new components. Must
could be done on the gateway end.

> The new email infrastructure will also give the world email postage
> stamps. And this time, it won't be just governments who get a cut of the
> profits. The biggest objection to SMTP in the SMTP vs. X.400 wars two
> decades ago was that SMTP's fundamental design made it impossible to
> impose email postage stamps. You can bet that the new redesigned Internet
> email won't have that problem.

Email and internet use is NOT "free". Someone is paying for the
servers, routers, and lines and people who install and maintain them.
For consumers, many pay an Internet Service Provider, such as an AOL,
for that service.

They say a very substantial amount of today's email traffic is spam.
Reducing that traffic would reduce the need for routers and lines and
that would save money. Maybe having email stamps isn't such a bad

Telephone service is offered in many grades and prices including many
"unlimited" use plans for local and long distance, even overseas calls
are offered at cheap package rates. There is no reason Internet
service can't be offered on a similar pricing scale -- those who use it a
lot would pay a lot. That is, after all, our social policy regarding
communications -- pay for usage and costs. The concept of rate averaging
and universal service was discarded as social policy at the time of
Bell System divesture.

> Be careful for what you wish. You may get it. And there are plenty of
> people who are quite happy to provide it to you (*ka-ching*!).

The costs of spam and fraud and high enough now, the cash register is
going along quite nicely, except the thieves are getting the money.

How many people, other than myself, are holding back from participating
in e-commerce and communications because of mistrust of the system?

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Quite a few of us are holding back. Lisa.
I order via the net when it is absolutely neccessary, or appears to me
to be very good deal (and have been assured it is legitimate. Usually
I just deal with the local stores however. PAT]

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