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The Spammer Who Doesn't Condone Spammming 29 October 2001 Edition
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When the news broke last week that Asia Online had been placed into liquidation it was only a matter of time before the vultures began circling in an attempt to swoop in and grab a mouthful of the remaining value.

Take this email sent from Philip Hunt of StrongNet to those who are using Asia Online as a web-hosting company or who for who the company offers authoritative nameserver services.

Is it commercial in nature? YES

Was it unsolicited? YES

Was it sent by email? YES

Which obviously means it is Unsolicited Commercial Email or, if we use the common vernacular -- spam.

I contacted the writer of the email, Philip Hunt from StrongNet and he confirmed that he had indeed sent out the email in an attempt to pick up some extra business.

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When I asked him whether he considered the emailing to be spam he replied that "it's fairly specific to customers of Asia Online" and that it wasn't the same as the completely untargeted spam that comes from the USA.

I asked if he would be happy for those who have websites hosted by his company to also engage in spamming as a method of promoting their products or services

"We don't condone spamming" I was told.

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    "So you'd be happy if a competitor of yours decided to spam those people who host with you with an offer for their services?" I asked.

    I was told that "this was a different situation because Asia Online had already announced its liquidation."

    However, the situation perhaps isn't all that different and trying to grab business from Asia Online by spamming its customers is still going to reduce shareholder's value

    In the case of Asia Online, the loss of this business (as opposed to the sale of it) could also mean a reduced sale-price for the business, the loss of jobs and possibly even a reduced creditor payout if it all turns to custard.

    Philip seems to remain unrepentant for his spamming. Despite saying "perhaps we shouldn't have done it" he says it was the first time that StrongNet has used spam as a marketing tool and that he has indeed picked up business from Asia Online customers as a result.

    And just how did he get ahold of the information that determined who was hosted at Asia Online?

    Well he claims that he simply performed a Zone Transfer from the old nameserver at ns99.waikato.ac.nz before the ability to do such things was tightened.

    What do you think -- is spamming the customers of a liquidated competitor a decent or ethical way to drum up business?

    Has StrongNet done themselves any favours through this breach of Netiquette?

    Please call me on 021 143 8343
    Have you received an email or two with this message in the subject line?

    Tomorrow I'll try to unravel exactly why this spam has been arriving in mailboxes around the countryside and what it all means.

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