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Dateline: 28 January 2000 Early Edition
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Telecom -- Spamming Bastards
I've complained on several occasions before about Telecom -- or to be more precise, XTRA's attitude to spam and spammers.

It has been my experience that so long as a spammer is prepared to keep paying their XTRA bill then they will take no action against them for violating netiquette or the XTRA terms of service. Money rules -- or so it appears.

I also noticed the other day that XTRA were again running an open SMTP server that would happily relay email on behalf of any spammer that wanted to (ab)use it.

Well now they've really scraped the bottom of the barrel...

I've had many, many emails from users of Telecom's pager service who are outraged that Telecom has started sending unsolicited commercial advertising to them through this vehicle.

The exact message sent was:

"What's new in Paging Check out the latest products, services and deals today at www.telecom.co.nz/paging"

While I'm sure there are some people who would not have minded receiving this kind of message, I have it on good authority that others are hopping mad -- and with very good reason.

There are more than a few people out there who use the pager service for "critical" callouts. People such as volunteer firemen, service-workers on call-out, emergency workers and the like are often very reliant on their pager.

Well it seems that more than just a few of those who received Telecom's spam page reacted as they normally do -- by leaping into action and heading off to work or wherever without actually reading the message first.

Remember -- these people use their page ONLY for emergency purposes and are certainly not expecting anything other than critical pages to be delivered to them.

Several others have contacted me saying that they did not appreciate being woken as early as 6 am -- only to find out that the paging message was just spam.

I believe Telecom's abuse of the pager service in this way to promote a commercial Internet website is completely unjustifiable. If it was a mistake then I suggest they tender an apology to all pager users (but for goodness sakes -- don't send it by pager or email!)

What next from Telecom I wonder?

Instead of dial-tone, will we get a pre-recorded running advertisement? Will we have to wait through 20 seconds of advertising before each of our calls are connected?

Hell -- I've got to stop giving them ideas!


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