Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Revenge of the Online Marketers

January 22nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

Internet users who don’t like online marketing let us online marketers know it — in loud, often abusive, profanity filled e-mails — when they don’t like our promotions.

I never really understood this: I mean, how much are you really being harmed getting an e-mail you don’t want?

Now, a recent article in Time may cause some anti-spammers to tone down their righteous indignation a bit before screaming at e-mail marketers.

When anti-spammer Mark Mumma got a few e-mails he didn’t like from, he posted photos of’s founders on his Web site and called them “spammers.”

To his surprise, sued Mumma for besmirching their reputations.

The case is heading for trial, and Mumma could end up paying $3.8 million in damages.

You may not like e-mail marketing, and if you don’t, just unsubscribe from the list sending you the e-mail you don’t want.

But as the Mumma case demonstrates, getting an e-mail you THINK may be spam does not give you carte blanche to say or do anything you please in response — even though, as a legitimate e-mail marketer, I can tell you that many people out there think it does.

Source: “A Spammer’s Revenge,” TIme, 1/15/07, p. 62.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 7:49 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

54 responses about “Revenge of the Online Marketers”

  1. Sean Woodruff said:

    I like the “thinkers” that complain about getting an e-mail when they have subscribed to the list.

    Don’t strain my ‘delete’ finger!

    I shouldn’t even get started on the idea of government controlling the free flow of information. No matter what the information is…

  2. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    Bob–Have to disagree.
    It’s not a question of a few emails taking up a few seconds of time. It’s thousands taking up time, bandwidth and disk space.

    I have 3416 emails sitting in my spam filter. That’s just for the past 30 days (older ones are automatically deleted!). And that’s not all… I have another 579 MB of spam waiting do die in a separate account set up to catch stuff sent to made-up names at my domain.

    All of us in the business have to realize that we are fouling our nest if we add to the muck. Yes, it’s a fraction of the cost of printing and postage to send an email. But if people stop responding, in the long run it will end up costing us more. We have to email more judiciously and target our messages far better than we’ve been doing!

  3. Bob Bly said:

    Morty: most of the four-letter invectives hurled at me, and thankfully they are few and far between, have been, as Sean notes above, from me who have doubled opted into my list asking me why I am sending them e-mail! I also have complaints from people who order my DVD product from people who wonder why it won’t play in their car CD player.

  4. Don Marti said:

    According to Time, the mail actually was spam. The _Time_ story points out that the company used bogus headers and sent the mail unsolicited, not opt-in. apparently complied with the US “CAN-SPAM Act” but there’s a lot of stuff you can do under CAN-SPAM that is, by every normal definition, spam. Try telling your ISP that you’re going to comply only with CAN-SPAM and not with their ToS on bulk mail and see how fast you get thrown off.

    If the jury uses email, is going to lose this case.

  5. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Don is right, if the jury uses e-mail,’s chances of recovering damages is pretty low.

    Of course, consumers have been reacting strongly to mail that’s unwanted (or that they don’t recall requesting) for years. Back in the stone age, when I was at The Economist, we would occassionally get BREs returned to us filled with things like Holocaust denial “literature” and sand!

  6. Don Marti said:

    Another scenario goes like this… signs up for a bunch of newsletters.

    Joe leaves the company and the IS dept. forwards his mail to

    Jane didn’t know about Joe’s newsletters, so reports them as spam.

    What we need to start doing is to forward Joe’s mail to Jane except for anything that’s Precedence: bulk or Precedence: list — just as USPS does. You can do this with procmail but I don’t know about many places that are yet.

  7. Bob Bly said:

    Jodi: I have been in mail order for 25 years, and have found business reply envelopes from direct mail campaigns returned to me with everything from Bible tracts to my sales letter ripped into shreds inside.

  8. Jennifer Bennett said:

    Jodi and Bob, that cracks me up. People have time to respond to direct mail? In kind? I’m picturing an 80-something couple with a bucket of sand in their kitchen who get very excited when the mail arrives. I bet their mailman has a blog.

  9. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    Bob–I would complain if you DIDN’T send me your emails!

    But as you yourself point out, it’s not just online looneys we have to deal with. I’ve gotten all kinds of hate mail and even — strangely enough — magazine subscriptions sent to the names I’ve used on direct mail promotions. (Somehow, some people thought it was some kind of revenge to copy the name and address from the letter and fill out dozens of blow-in subscription cards…. as if sticking Time and other magazines with fake subscriptions was somehow a blow against the evil forces of Junk Mail!)

    Face it. Lots of people don’t like “unsolicited offers.” And if they hate junk mail, they hate spam even more. And the frustration is growing because it’s a losing battle. Spammers have ruined it for all of us.

    For that matter, it’s not just spammers. Many of them have gone phishing… and ripping people off big-time. (Someone I know actually responded to TWO Nigerian email scams. The second time to the tune of a few thousand dollars! You’d think someone would have learned after the first time. But you just can’t legislate intelligence!)

    You take the brunt of the frustration of people who don’t know who they should really be fighting or how. The sociological term is misplaced aggression. But every time you send out an email to a list… you’re risking setting yourself up as a target. (What a twist on target marketing!)

    Here’s to better times!


  10. Dianna Huff said:


    I use a Yahoo account to sign up for almost everything now. I also use it when ordering things online. This way I can keep track of where email comes from.

    I am amazed at the amount of email I get from companies. Anytime I order *anything* I opt out of future mailings. But I still get them. I unsubscribe and still receive them.

    The only email I have ever asked for is from Old Navy and that is because they paid me $5 for my email address.

    Regarding the abuse you receive, I get it, too. People are really very, very nasty. I have a double opt-in newsletter and still get people who report me as spam.

  11. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    Bob, Dianna–People who attack you aren’t attacking YOU personally. You are innocent victims of information superhighway road rage!

    I get so many double and triple opt-in newsletters I don’t remember who they are coming from anymore! I have to check to see “who sent me this and why?” I’ve removed my name from a load of them. But the phantom returns. (One newsletter, from someone we all know, I stopped reading because there’s no more information there… only sales pitches. But I don’t want to insult the guy (and I strongly suspect he checks his lists) so I just filter it off to oblivion.

    I’m sure some of the people who attack you have no recollection of opting in or even subscribing. Maybe you should try sending an annual reminder asking if people still want to get your newsletter. (I do!)


  12. Richard Armstrong said:

    I’m with you, Bob. I don’t get it. Especially when these militant anti-spammers claim to be in the direct marketing business themselves! I have my spam filter wide open. I open and read (or skim) all my spam, just as I open and read or skim all my direct mail. I’d consider myself guilty of professional malpractice if I did not!
    P.S. Okay, okay … if I’ve seen the same thing a dozen times, I may delete it without looking at it. But despite the fact that my filter is wide open and I’m on hundreds of lists, the whole process probably doesn’t take me more than ten minutes a day. Big deal.

  13. Bob Bly said:

    RA: I’m with you: I leave my spam filter wide open. As marketers, reading direct mail — print and online — is our continuing education. And it takes only a few minutes a day to delete the ones I don’t want. I’m not harmed. I agree: What’s the big deal?

  14. Mark W. Mumma, the WebGuy said:

    Well kids, I have to disagree with ANYONE that thinks I should have just “hit delete”.

    I get over 8,300 (last time I counted, about 2 years ago.)

    If it only takes 10 seconds to:

    A> locate an undesirable spam message.
    B> open the message
    C> search for the opt out link
    D> click the opt out link
    E> wait for the opt out page to load
    F> type in my email address
    G> click the submit button….

    …then I would be spending over 23 hours a day, EVERY DAY, with no food or potty breaks just to opt out of my daily spam load.

    I’m sorry to dissappoint all you “just hit deleters” out there.


    I really don’t have time to do that.

    Suing them obviously doesn’t help, so I’ve stopped doing that too.

    Mark, the WebGuy.

  15. Mark W. Mumma, the WebGuy said:

    Oh yeah. Forgot to mention, that’s 8,300 PER DAY, not per month….

  16. Bob Bly said:

    I am on tons of e-lists, both legitimate and spam, and I get, at most, 200 to 250 a day. It takes me about a minute or two to zip through them and delete them. I can’t imagine why on Earth you get over 8,000 a day — you are certainly atypical. If I got 8,000 a day, I’d have a problem, too.

  17. Mark W. Mumma, the WebGuy said:

    I own over 200 domains and I have catchall addresses set up on most of them.

    To respond to your statement above when you said: “I mean, how much are you really being harmed getting an e-mail you don’t want?”

    If all it I got was a few hundred, then it would be no big deal.

    Problem is, in this SEA of spam. I am missing domain renewal notices, bills for services that I need to pay and a multitude of other things. With the 4th Circuit’s ruling in my case, NOW email server name forgery is legal — so long as they have some means of contacting the advertiser in the body of the message.

    I can only expect to receive EVEN MORE as time goes on.

    It’s only a matter of time before the global email system grinds to a halt.

  18. Bob Bly said:

    Mark: It shouldn’t be legal! That’s a terrible ruling!

  19. Justin said:

    I disagree with the original post. It’s annoying as HELL to get spam, especially at work. And the only reason I get spam at work is because my e-mail address is on a web page so that our investors can e-mail questions about our company or our reporting.

    Just the simple fact that it’s annoying should be enough. Hey, if I came to your house, rang your doorbell, and ran away, you’d be annoyed. Why would you do that to someone else? Ahh, because you make money doing it. Well, find an honest job.

    And’s founders will lose. If you post a photo of them and state a fact, you’re not liable for lible or slander.

    The other point is that there’s no way in HELL I am trusting someone to unsubscribe me after they’ve just sent me an unsolicited e-mail. In fact, nearly half of the junk mail that I’ve “unsubscribed to” simply results in spam from them again, or another sender advertising the same product. Online marketers have no honesty, no morals, and no decency to stop when they’re asked to stop, period. Not to mention that you’re validating your e-mail address when you respond to them. Who knows who they’re selling your e-mail address to next.

    The simple fact is that e-marketers are dishonest, fraudulent in many cases, creepy, use FAKE e-mail addresses (which is ILLEGAL), use offshore servers to try and avoid US laws, etc. If it were legitimate, you wouldn’t have to go to such pains. But hey, you’re greedy crooks in the first place, right?

  20. Zmajrbu said: x

  21. Zmajrce said: x

  22. puzzerwad said:

    Mechanical Puzzles
    3D Puzzles
    Word Search Puzzles

  23. Justin said:

    No response, Bob? I didn’t think so. The many bad apples in your bunch have spoiled your image for everyone. Internet marketers are the new scum of the earth.

  24. Justin said:

    And Morty – Maybe the aggression is misplaced on “Bob”. However, we have no way of knowing who will sell our e-mail adress to 1000 other companies. Bob could be doing it. Bob could be doing it DESPITE saying he’s NOT doing it. The consumers never know.

  25. julporeta said:

    charming angels lolitas bbs ls magazine
    charming angelsbbs
    charming bbs angels jpg

  26. hbqwxxvudw said:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! esqrpxghjb

  27. Little Guy Network said:

    Hey Thanks for the information



  28. App cheats said:

    App cheats…

    […]Revenge of the Online Marketers – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  29. online computer science degree said:

    online computer science degree…

    […]Revenge of the Online Marketers – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  30. Dannie Hickernell said:

    Hello there, I do believe your web site may be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent website!

  31. Corwin said:

    puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale in oregon,pug puppies for sale in az,pug puppies for sale in va,pug puppies near mepugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale near me and exceptional colors you will dream of having. At the moment our cattery is one of the biggest in the USA who produced these valuable Pug puppies. All our Pug puppy for sale are transferred according to the law with documentation and all our Pug puppy and puppies are with registration AKC. As a family, we have loved, cared, breed, and lived with different kinds of puppies for over 10 years, quite an experience. We do not consider ourselves concerned with earning money. All our Pug puppies are raised at home in a family/friendly environment making our Pug puppies completely at ease with other pets.pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me.

  32. robert said:

  33. Joe Clark said:

    Best Merchant Cash Advance Leads are exclusive Leads addressed to you Merchant Cash Advance Leads is the Qualified MCA Leads Data provider as a firm in the entire globe.

  34. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure offers their customers jackets of all types, including Denim Jackets For Women, leather jackets, puffer jackets, and Sherpa denim jackets. Buy the best available winter blue jeans Jackets for women online in Pakistan from Ndure. We bring you high quality bomber jacket, Puffer Hooded Gilet for womens online.

    Ndure offers the best casual comfortable trousers for women online in Pakistan. Buy wide leg, loungewear, narrow and knit trousers for girls that are best suitable for all occasions. Ndure’s trousers for women are the key to everyday comfortability.

  35. Cobalt Dreir said:

    cobalt octoate are importers of cobalt octoate products devoted exclusively to advance materials in industrial bulk and laboratory/research quantities.

  36. Shop ECS said:

    ECS is offering best quality shoes in Pakistan. Shop from ECS for better experience of footwear.

  37. ShopECS said:

    Buy women shoes online from ECS, ECS is providing best shoes in market which are of premium quality product.

  38. Alexpeter said:

    The Career Coach is Europe’s top career coaching consultancy – and has helped more than 10,000 people land their dream jobs, all in less than 40 days.

  39. gclub said:

    I really like your work. And keep track of all your albums, Goes King99 very well May produce good works come out more and more. I will keep supporting

  40. HazelJames said:

    website development Ireland and Dublin that offers a complete digital solution in taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devise strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own.

  41. Flormar said:

    Flormar a Turkish cosmetics brand offers the best eyelash mascara in Pakistan. Grab your eyelash mascara and match the fashion.

  42. Rivaj UK said:

    Rivaj brings only the best cosmetics and related products like powder Foundation and liquid foundation. So, grab their liquid foundation sets today and enjoy. Their powder Foundation sets are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best makeup powder Foundations to their customers every day.

  43. Chinyere said:

    Chinyere is offering the best winter shawls for women to make their collections fashionable. Chinyere woolen shawl are premium quality which make your outfit fancy.

  44. shay12 said:

    advancefitness by Bilal Brothers, established in 1979, is the leader in exercise, fitness, gymnasium and indoor sport equipment all over Pakistan. We work only with the world’s top brands and are proud to serve our customers with top-notch after sales service.

  45. Highway Fashions said:

    Check the latest collection of baroque online in Pakistan at Highwayfashions. Highwayfashions offers its clients the latest dresses of baroque online in all over Pakistan at great prices. So, grab your favorite clothes today.

  46. Norman said:

    The vagina is the most exciting part of a Realistic Sex Doll during intercourse.

  47. Mike Rooney said:

    This is really a great website, i suggest you to post articles to attract visitors attention. Your website is really a great source of information.Willie G Jacket

  48. Oxeltech said:

    Electronic design services involve the process of designing and developing electronic devices or systems, such as circuit boards, microprocessors, and other Electronic design services. These services are typically offered by companies that specialize in electronic engineering and design.

  49. Sex Doll Tech said:

    In the ever-evolving landscape of adult toys, cheap sex dolls have become a popular choice for individuals seeking an affordable and fulfilling intimate experience. These budget-friendly companions offer a gateway to explore desires and fantasies without breaking the bank. Let’s delve into the world of cheap sex dolls and uncover the reasons behind their rising popularity.

  50. BabyBoxShop said:

    A baby soft toy is a cuddly and comforting companion for a newborn. These toys come in various shapes and sizes, often in the form of cute animals or characters, and are designed to provide comfort and entertainment to the baby as they grow.

  51. BSNS Consulting said:

    Based in Pakistan, BSNS Consulting is a leading Digital Marketing Agency Islamabad. Our talented team of marketers, designers, and strategists collaborates to create impactful digital campaigns that resonate with your target audience. With a focus on innovation and results, we empower your brand to thrive in the digital landscape.

  52. Tiptop-einrichtung said:

    A Maniküretisch mit Absaugung is a table designed for manicure treatments, and it includes an integrated dust extraction system to keep the workspace clean and safe.

  53. Bug Zapper said:

    Introducing the Electric Bug Zapper, a cutting-edge bug-removal device. We will go into the realm of bug zappers in this extensive guide, emphasizing Electric Bug Zappers, Rechargeable Bug Zappers, Outdoor Bug Zappers, and Electric Fly Swatters.

  54. Ramzan Rashan said:

    Ramzan Grocery Hampers add an element of luxury and variety to the tradition of giving during the holy month. These hampers often feature an assortment of premium food items, exquisite dates, and traditional sweets. The curated selection in these hampers elevates the Ramadan experience, making it a time of joy and celebration for both the giver and the recipient.

Leave a Reply