October 4, 2009

Press releases are not spam

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 1:23 pm

letterbox-roy_parkhousePR agencies and journalists alike have been screaming blue murder the past few days over the perceived consequences of the new anti-spam law. Laurens Verhagen of Nu.nl, the website known for never writing its own stories if it can help it, whines (Dutch) that “an unintended side-effect is that PR agencies are no longer allowed to send press releases.”

Other journalists cheer on the new law. NRC.next’s Ernst-Jan Pfauth hails the death of the press release (Dutch): “Press release are old-fashioned, unnecessary and often misused.”

But as the here-often-quoted Internet law specialist Arnoud Engelfriet explains at De Nieuwe Reporter, the law has a provision for e-mail addresses that have been explicitly designed for receiving bulk mails. Also, the spam prohibition only pertains to advertising, informative e-mails are not part of the law.

That means that from now on only advertisements dressed up as press releases are out, but I cannot imagine that even Laurens Verhagen would bemoan such an intended consequence.

A tempest in a teapot.

(Photo of a letterbox by Roy Parkhouse, some rights reserved.)

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September 30, 2009

All spam outlawed starting tomorrow

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 8:14 am

Tomorrow the prohibition on business spam mails (Dutch) will come into effect.

Sending e-mail spam to consumers has been illegal in the Netherlands since 2004. Back then I wrote elsewhere that this would be enough to deter Dutch spammers because separating out business addresses from home addresses would be too costly. It seems I was wrong though. Since the general spam prohibition was passed into law, I have been deluged with the stuff on my business account. (It takes half a year for a law to come into effect after it has passed both houses of parliament, in case you were wondering.)

The maximum fine for sending spam in the Netherlands is 450,000 euro.

(Photo of spam on a barbecue by Kyle Nishioka, some rights reserved. Cropped by me. Link tip: every retard who has been sending me a reminder the past week that I need to explicitly sign up for their trash if I were to go batshit insane and suddenly decide to want to keep receiving their mails after October 1.)

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February 24, 2009

Send back those unsollicited creationism folders

Filed under: Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:57 am

The year 2009 is the year of Charles Darwin, the English father of the theory of evolution. Some Christian man with methinks way too much time and money on his hands printed up a big, colourful folder about how God made the Earth in six days and all that jazz. I haven’t seen it yet, true, but I’m looking forward to it. Needless to say, thousands of people are insulted at receiving unsollicited storytelling folders in their mailboxes, especially since they did not order it. A campaign entitled Terug naar je maker (Back to your maker) is encouraging folks to sing a petition and send the storytelling folder back to its maker, the man from Urk, a village known for its religious views and alcoholic youth.

Forget about the holes in Darwin’s theory’s (so I’ve heard), forget trying to follow the Bible, a book almost nobody can read in its original language (angels are male and female, a theologist Ph.D. friend who reads Aramaic used to tell me) and don’t get into this silly debate that just muddles the pain of the financial crisis. Just think that some zealot wasted tens of thousands of euro when he could have helped out in his community and thought it worthy to kill trees to tell us something we can read on our own good time or not in the Bible.

The more you need to convince others, the more you need to convince yourself. You could have opened a school in Africa somewhere with that money. Shame on you.

For the locals among you, print this out (the real stickers are sold out!) and put it on your mailbox:


You can also sign the petition here (in Dutch).

(Link: sargasso.nl, Photo: sunstonetours.wordpress.com)

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December 11, 2008

Tell-a-friend systems now legal in the Netherlands

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:49 am

An unholy alliance of the telecom and privacy authorities (OPTA and CBP respectively) has declared tell-a-friend systems legal, reports Arnoud Engelfriet (Dutch). The two agencies that were most likely to fine you for spamming your visitors’ friends made up a list of sensible sounding rules though:

  • The website is not allowed to offer incentives to visitors for using the tell-a-friend system,
  • The recipient should be fully aware which friend decided to spam him,
  • The iniator should know exactly what’s being sent on their behalf before the e-mail is sent, and
  • The site may not collect the e-mail addresses of either the initiator or the recipients.

If you don’t know what a tell-a-friend system is: these are forms on a third-party’s web site that will let you notify a friend of something interesting on that site. So what if you want to tell a friend about a 24 Oranges posting? Our preferred way is the one depicted in the photo to the left (by Mind on Fire, some rights reserved). You don’t have a friend handy and cannot just walk over? Well, we’re using the WordPress blogging system, which uses extremely user-friendly URLs. Just copy and paste the URL in an e-mail message and send it to a friend.

Organizations that would still be labeled spammers and privacy hounds under these new, laxer rules are such venerable institutions as the army and the police. I guess they’re just too busy harassing foreign looking people to read up on the law.

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