Dear Gentle Readers,
MSNBC, of all places, is reporting that there are allegations that Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer has been spamming people.
Can it be true?
Microsoft has been in the news a lot lately as a champion of anti-spam, suing spammers in Federal court left and right. To which Aunty says “Bravo!”
Yet, is there a double standard at play here? Is email marketing sauce for the goose not email marketing sauce for the Gates?
The email sent by Ballmer, one of several sent to people in the technology industries as part of Microsoft’s anti-open-source software and anti-Linux campaign, said that he was writing to them “to share some of the data around these key issues, and to provide examples of customers who opted to go with the Windows platform rather than Linux”.
It backfired, however, when it was sent to people who had absolutely no business relationship with Microsoft whatsoever.
When challenged as to this email marketing practice, Microsoft’s response was simply that the email did not violate CAN-SPAM. That in and of itself is open to debate, and at least one noted legal expert, David Sorken, believes that in fact the email did violate the Federal anti-spam statute.
But the bigger question goes to the practice of adding email addresses to your email marketing list without permission, and sending your email marketing newsletter or other material to people who simply don’t want it, and never wanted it.
Microsoft spokesperson Sean Sundwall said that Microsoft builds its email marketing lists with names collected from “a variety of sources, including registrations for products or Microsoft-sponsored conferences, names provided to Microsoft representatives at trade shows or requests to receive company newsletters.”
So what do you think? Is Microsoft spamming? Have you been spammed by Microsoft? Tell Aunty what you think!
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