Monday, May 09, 2005

 

Block you, spamhole!

I do not negotiate with terrorists. I do not register with spam blockers.

Have you ever gotten an email from someone, replied to it, and then received a "delivery failed" message stating that your reply will not be sent until you "register" with the intended recipient's spam blocker?

I've gotten this a couple of times now, and for some reason it really pushes my buttons. Where do I begin?

1. This has only happened when I've replied to someone's email. Why can't the spam blocker be programmed to automatically allow replying emails? If it's a reply, then obviously Mr. "Please Register Before Attempting to Contact Me" wants to hear from me, right? Technologically, that seems like such an easy fix, that I'm led to suspect the "registration" thing is a scam so that the spam blocker can sell my email address to spammers!

2. Maybe this is just me, but I've only gotten this registration BS in situations where I don't really want to reply! Taking the most recent example: a practicing lawyer in my state writes me a letter asking me to consult with her about her case for free. She's hoping to make money off the case (it's not pro bono), but somehow because I teach at a public law school she's under the impression that I'm some sort of hotline for private practitioners. Her email begins, "let me briefly describe the case for you." Naturally, she goes on to write one of the ten longest emails I've ever received. The "registration" notice comes only after I've spent an inordinate amount of time crafting a reply email that explains, politely but firmly, that I don't give free legal advice on for-profit cases.

3. Having received the "registration" notice, I would like to explain to Ms. Thing that it's my policy not to register with spam blockers. But I can't! My email would be blocked unless I register!

4. I suppose I could just forget the whole thing, and invest no further time in it. But then I would appear to be "Professor Too -Important -to -Take -Even -a -Couple -of -Minutes -to -Reply -to -Lowly -Practicing -Lawyer," when, in reality, she's the one who is "Attorney Keep -My -Law -Practice -Costs -Down -By- Getting -Free -Legal -Advice- from -Public -University -Law -Professors -while -Making -them -Register -with- my -Spam -Blocker."

5. My only other options are: (a) leave this attorney a voice mail at some late hour when she's unlikely to be there, which seems weird; or (b) print out my explanatory email and send it to her by snail mail, which is absurd.

There's no easy fix here. So let this post be my notice to the world: I do not register with spam blockers!

****

Comments:
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Make sure your voice carries *just* the right amount of annoyance and the only information you will deign to provide is (a) you recieved her email and (b) you replied to it but her spam blocker bounced it (and not WHAT the reply is). That should annoy her almost as much as your returned mail message.
 
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