Spam From Tourbus?

Category: Spam

Not sure how to say this -- but just for fun I clicked on a credit card application, and then cancelled IMEADTELY!! Well, two months later my count as of this day: 2948 spams for credit cards, loans, easy credit, etc. Abut 370 spams a week, or about 53 A DAY! While I know money support is nice, and I don't subscribe to the paid edition of TourBus BUT if I did, would I get more moral staunchness on your part re: allowing spammers to use your site? SHAME ON YOU, BROTHER! -- PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!!!!!

I've Been Spammed! (And I'm Blaming You)

I get emails like this occasionally, from people who have visited the TOURBUS website, clicked on an advertisement and then were unhappy with the results. Some blame me for spam, others for customer service problems with the advertiser.

I can't understand why some people have the misconception that every advertiser on a reputable website is somehow vetted or vouched for by the website operator. To think so would be applying a much different standard to the online world than to print or broadcast media.

If you pick up a copy of the NY Times and browse through the classifieds, certainly you don't assume that everyone advertising there is completely honest, and that the Times is endorsing their product or service. And if you buy something from a TV infomercial, you don't blame the television station if the product doesn't meet your expectations.

Caveat Pre-Emptor?

So why are the concepts of "buyer beware" and "due diligence" conspicuously absent on the Internet?

Even for advertisers that appear in the TOURBUS newsletter, with whom I deal directly, there's no way I can check them all out to ensure that everyone will always have a perfect purchasing experience. I do, however, have a policy of "If you can't get satisfaction from the advertiser, I will personally make it right." And of course I'll no longer allow bad faith actors to advertise in the newsletter. But for the website ads, we don't even have the means to check out individual advertisers. Because web ads are served by third-party advertising networks, we don't even have control over which speficic ads appear on the site, except for the fact that they should be contextually relevant.

Protecting Your Privacy

Spam is the bane of the Internet, and we hate it as much as you do. In fact, the publishers of Tourbus have been quite active over the years in educating their readers about spam, where it comes from, and how to avoid it. Because we respect your privacy, we have always pledged that we will not rent, sell or otherwise reveal your e-mail address to any third party. And since we started in 1995, we never have!

Your email address is safe with us, but if you click away from the TOURBUS newsletter or website to a third party offering a product or service, you have to realize you're on your own, and use the same caution that you would when making any purchasing decision -- online of offline. That's not because we're mean or greedy, it's just common sense.

Online consumers should ALWAYS read the advertiser's privacy policy to see how their email and other personal information will be used. No privacy policy? Vague (or endless) privacy policy? No sale!

(Oh, and for the record, there is no paid version of TOURBUS.)

 
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Most recent comments on "Spam From Tourbus?"

Posted by:

Glenn P.,
27 Sep 2005

You write:

"I can't understand why some people have the misconception that every advertiser on a reputable website is somehow vetted or vouched for by the website operator... If you pick up a copy of the NY Times and browse through the classifieds, certainly you don't assume that... that the Times is endorsing their product or service..."

Well, no, not the CLASSIFIEDS, I quite agree with you there. Small-time ads by private individuals such as this are "caveat emptor" exemplified.

But surely, for major corporate advertisers -- the ones who take out full-page color ads -- it is a very different matter.

Remember, no publication HAS to accept ANY advertisement from ANYONE; this is entirely a privilige -- not a right. "The freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press." For a publication's major advertiser to prove faithless would be a major PR and marketing disaster; a publication's reputation is at least partly if not largely bound up in the reliability of those companies it consents to advertise.

Major advertisers such as this are a part of a publication's "image". They become part of the publication's "PR".

Most major publications, therefore -- at least those which aren't interested solely in the Bottom Line -- will to some degree screen their major advertisers. They want to be certain that they will enhance the publication's image (or at the least, will be compatible with it). They want to be sure that the advertising company will enhance the publication's reputation with its readers. In this way, the publication stamps its advertisements with an implicit "seal of approval".

This is the reason why Reader's Digest has never run a tobacco ad (it doesn't condone such products), and it is also the reason why Consumer Reports has never run any ad at all (it sees any ads as a conflict of interest).

The relationship also runs the other way: the high reputation and reliability of the PUBLICATION rubs off on the product or service advertised. If the publication is particularly well-known and well-regarded, the fact that they choose (yes, CHOOSE) to advertise such-and-such a product or service, is indeed an endorsement, of a sort, whether the publication realizes it or not. People TRUST that publication: therefore, they will trust that any service or product they advertise will be reliable.

So I cannot really say "Amen" to the idea that publications don't endorse their advertisers. In a way, Yes, they DO. Like it or not, people TRUST you. They are apt to see an advertisement not just as an "ad", but as a "reference" or a "referral". Yes, my friend: like it or not, when you put in an ad, you stamp it with an implicit seal of approval -- just like any other highly-regarded publication.

If you don't like it, insert a disclaimer!


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