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A Double Tax On Net Publishers? 18 March 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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If this story published by Stuff.co.nz this morning is to be believed, some online publishers may soon be hit with unexpected costs.

First of all let me say that I think it's highly laudable that the government might want to build up its own library of online publications. Such a collection will be of great value to future generations as they look back at how we embraced (or not) the biggest thing since the industrial revolution.

However, as an online publisher who operates on a very tight budget of time and money, anyone expecting me to comply with this new bill and foot the costs of such compliance will get short shrift.

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If you're launching a new website, upgrading an existing one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then maybe you need an Aardvark Site Survey. Read more...

Let's make no bones about it -- compliance costs are nothing more than another tax and I don't see why I (or anyone else) should be taxed for contributing to the very heritage the government seeks to preserve.

I already spend far too much of my time working as an unpaid servant of government in order to comply with the growing raft of legislation that ankle-taps so many small businesses. Enough is enough.

Spammer Hides Behind Privacy Act
If you received a spam from a local company this weekend inviting you to buy some software that will check email for viruses then you might be tempted to complain to the spammer or their ISP.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
From Friday...
  • Some People Are Just Crazy!... - Jae
  • The Engrish Otago site... - James
  • Ministerial Correspondence... - Peter
  • Email responses to emails... - Graham
  • Have Your Say

    Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to sue them because, unlike an increasing number of states in the USA, we don't seem to have any anti-spamming legislation. This is something which surprises me, especially in light of the fact that National MP "Bruiser" Brownlee has recently taken Out! magazine to task for sending him unsolicited snail mail.

    According to a story published in the Dominion, Brownlee claims that he has a "right not to receive junk mail" which surely means that he would also support the introduction of anti-spamming legislation, right?

    Despite the lack of legislative support, one Aardvark reader did contact this weekend's local spammer and bitch about their actions.

    The reaction they received was somewhat mixed. Initially their complaints were met with an apologetic "gosh, I don't know how your name got on that list" type of response -- but then they turned a little less friendly...

    According to the spammer, "all information was collected from publicly available sources" and they then went on to quote a raft of provisions in the Privacy Act which allegedly make it quite legal to carry out such a spam-run using harvested addresses.

    The complainant was then told that "If however you wish to discuss this further, please direct your comments to the privacy commission."

    Clearly these people have never heard of Dale Carnegie!

    Come on parliament (that includes you "Bruiser"), let's try to catch up with the rest of the world and introduce legislation that protects our email boxes from the unethical and unwanted attentions of those "direct email marketers" who don't play fair.

    The growing levels of spam are starting to threaten the viability of using cellular technology to retrieve email. Who's going to spend a hefty sum to retrieve mail using their cellphone when the majority of it turns out to be unsolicited junk email?

    Oh, and who was that local spammer?

    Well here's a clue. I went to their website and thought I'd try to determine whether the mailing list they were running was one of those easily abused single-opt-in types. Here's what it said when I tried to subscribe one of my (quite valid) test email addresses.

    One would hope that their anti-virus email filters were written with a little more care than their mailing list subscription system.

    Have your say.

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