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French Version

Internet : Spammers pop-up in Jordan

For years we’ve been hearing about spam. Nowadays, e-mail users in Jordan are feeling the pinch of commercial spam.

If you’re unfortunate to be on a local e-mail marketer’s list, and there are two very irritating ones who sicken me everyday with their useless messages, you’re probably ready to give them a piece of your mind. Go ahead, it’s your right to send them a message requesting your removal from their lists, or ‘warning’ them that what they are doing is an invasion of your privacy; simply, because they did not get your permission for this e-mail bombardment !

There is an obvious difference between ‘permission-based’ e-mail promotions and non-permission based. For example, when you sign up for a Hotmail or Maktoob account, you are asked if you wish to receive ‘promotional e-mails’.

If you say yes, then you won’t be bothered by them when they arrive in your mailbox, also you’ll know from the message sender if it’s an ‘official’ promotional e-mail from your mail service which adds credibility to this message. Also, e-mail service providers are careful not to send their members you more than one such promotional e-mail message a week.

So, e-mail marketing within a controlled environment, having taken your permission, could actually be something you look forward to receiving! The problem is when you’re getting e-mails from sources that you did not authorize, spammers who profit from bothering you and one in of these super-spammers sends me, at least, five e-mails a day and it’s driving me crazy; still, I haven’t blocked their messages because I want to make a full list of all the companies who use their service, to write to them! Surprisingly, so far in Jordan, you hear very few complaints about spam, in fact it seems Jordanian consumers are still at the early phase of e-mail marketing when they’re pleased to know what’s going on, who’s selling what and if there’s a special offer. However, after several months of being bombarded with these messages, which are so large they cost you Internet minutes to download, and which don’t even carry special offers but just ‘scans’ of a newspaper advertisement; people will speak out. Spam is a form of pollution. If you hate noise pollution which stresses you out, for example, then you’ll hate spam which not only causes stress but also imposes costs on you when it prolongs your daily e-mail use duration, only to find someone trying to sell you something clogging up your mailbox! What will get on your nerves more is the fact that somebody made money by selling your address to a commercial entity. That’s also an invasion of privacy. How can you hit back at a spammer? Apart from the, somewhat, passive action of blocking their address, a more pro-active approach would be to tell the company who ‘rented’ the spammers list that you do not want to buy it’s product because it used unauthorized e-mail marketing to communicate with you.

That way, the spammers’ clients who pay him will stop using his service; the spammer will have to clean up his act. How can they get on our good side? Well, for a start they need to send us a message, once our email finds it’s way into their address book, introducing themselves to us and asking for our permission to join their e-mail commercial lists that they rent out to advertisers. If we agree, they then have to promise to send no more than, say, three messages a week. Also, they have to promise that the size of these messages will be reasonable so we don’t have to wait several minutes for them to download. By taking these steps, they earn our respect, earn the right to sell our addresses and therefore actually end up serving us with useful, not irritating information.

To the currently two big spammers in Jordan, you know who you are, take the steps suggested above, and your business will continue successfully. Otherwise, angry users like myself will launch a local anti-spam campaign because what you’re doing is an invasion of privacy, a cause of stress and an information pollutant. Your actions are irritating enough for us to tell our Government to expand Jordan’s e-Laws to prohibit your unsolicited email marketing?

So, clean up your act.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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