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Dateline: 23 February 2000 Early Edition
Read The Previous Edition
A permanent link to this page can be found here

How Dumb Is This?
As regular readers will now, I hate unsolicited commercial email (UCE -- sometimes refereed to as "spam").

Protecting your email address from spammers is important if you don't want to end up with a mailbox full of messages headed "EA$Y MONEY!!!!!" and "Debbie Wants YOU!!!!" every time you turn on your PC.

A lot of people have taken advantage of web-based email services to create another email addresses and by and large these web-based email sites are pretty damned good about protecting your address and dealing with spam.

However... it's been brought to my attention that there's a new parasite on the Web-based email market that has just launched in New Zealand.

The operator of WebMail.net.nz has been trying to drum up new users by sending out UCE to promote the service -- duh!!!

The email proudly starts off with "Show Off New Zealand announces the launch of its free web-based Email service Webmail.net.nz in conjunction with American Email giant Commtouch" and goes on to cite all the wonderful benenfits on offer (yawn!). At the bottom of the message is the name "Billy Brown."

A quick check of the site shows that there are absolutely no alternative contact details available -- so I couldn't even ring "Billy" for comment.

When I went to the master site at Commtouch.com I saw a similar lack of managerial contact details.

In short -- BEWARE and AVOID!

Any service that would promote itself by using unsolicited commercial email should not be trusted with your information. To send out UCE is a clear demonstration that the operator has no qualms about abusing the email addresses and mailboxes of other Net users.

Of course I emailed a list of questions to "Billy" and Commtouch in the USA so they could put their point of view -- but the silence is deafening. I guess "Billy's" mailbox is jammed full of complaints and maybe the US company is happy to endorse the spamming activities of their local partner.

If you want a free web-based email account -- stick to the big players with a proven record (such as Yahoo.com) -- or look at those ethical NZ-based services that offer such facilities.

And please keep your comments regarding yesterday's edition coming. There's some good stuff there and it looks as if "culture clash" has hit the nail on the head.

As always, your comments are gladly received.


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