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Junk Mail

Response to my Long Letter was overwhelmingly positive--bringing 
tears of joy to my eyes, you might say. But one letter--just one 
--appeared on July 24 as a little cloud on my otherwise unblemished 
horizon. Let me quote it here now, omitting of course any 
references to who posted it--though the British spellings give 
away the country of origin. 
     >I suspect you meant well in posting your ad to the dinosaur
>mailing list, but... 
>I think you have missed a point of net-etiquette: people do not 
>like adverts sent on the Internet, whether posted to usenet or 
>to mailing lists. They like them even less when they are long. 
>You should remember that many people *pay* to receive messages, 
>per message and per length, and if connecting by phone they pay 
>for time to transfer messages, too. 
>The most proper behaviour would be not to post ads at all; since
>you can claim relevance, you could try to justify your posting, 
>but you could have restricted yourself to a short message 
>inviting people to mail you for further info, catalogues and 
>pubs lists etc -- not posted the whole lot to the network list.

>You should also read your AOL terms and conditions, (and if you 
>read usenet, observe the net-abuse group). You will find that 
>AOL have an active policy of responding to complaints, 
>especially regarding unwanted commercial activities, and cancel 
>accounts if many complaints are received against them. 
>Postmaster@aol.com gets a *lot* of mail! 
>I hope you find interesting items out on the net, and don't get 
>too bruised by your first postings! 
That's it. So, gang, let me hear it. Did I do a bad thing posting
all my info at one fell swoop? Have I violated net-etiquette? You
know, I did bone up on net-etiquette before signing onto AOL, and
I tried to write my Long Letter *not* as an unpleasant, 
detestable commercial but as an informative posting that outlined
my upcoming projects and invited interested parties to send SASEs
to my PO box. 
When I signed on to AOL, right off the bat I was solicited for 
two books about using AOL and navigating the Internet. The orders
were taken electronically, on the spot. Yet these are the same 
people who "forbid" commercial postings?! Puh-leeze! AOL 
presently has a GIANT siphon directly into my checking account as
part of their terms of service. They provide their services to 
make money for themselves; presumably they believe they will hold
more customers if the customers don't deluge each other with 
unwanted solicitations. Hence their policy. The key word here is 
"unwanted." Was my Long Letter unwanted? Certainly not, judging 
by the responses *other* than the above. 
I have to justify this extra, new expense in terms of (1) 
information gained for my projects, (2) extra sales to people who
were not previously on my mailing list, and (3--blue sky here) 
extra work found through list contacts. The fun factor is not to 
be denied, either; but it's pretty expensive fun if that's the 
*only* reason for me to be here. 
So every so often, when you least expect it, perhaps, I may send 
a short message noting I have something for sale, to which 
whoever wishes may respond (no arm-twisting here!). The Long 
Letter was a one-shot introductory posting, however. From the 
beginning, I never intended to post anything further like it 
(unless something really, really demanded it). 
Fair enough? 

George Olshevsky
PO Box 543 Central Park Station
Buffalo, NY 14215-0543