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"Do Not Call" and "Do Not E-mail"


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The next threat to start-ups

By William Blundon
September 10, 2003, 12:00 PM PT

The rope-twirling humorist Will Rogers summed up the political thoughts of many of his fellow Americans with a memorable quote: "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as it does when a baby gets hold of a hammer."

Americans have become more than a bit tetchy about advertising in all its forms; and our legislators are understandably enamored with the vote-getting potential of various "Do Not" initiatives. First there were the state and national Do Not Call lists. Now, there is the real possibility of the passage of the Do Not E-mail bill sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.

If present trends continue, marketing people will be forced to stand outside in the alley next to the smokers (although they won't be able to speak to them). Perhaps we can solve two problems at once, and only permit advertising on cigarette wrappers. Otherwise, the public seems to expect the government to act as a kind of giant TiVo, filtering out all advertising before it is recorded on the eardrum or eyeball.

Do Not lists are popular (Americans registered 30 million telephone numbers on the national Do Not Call registry in the first five weeks), but they come at a price. The laws may increase privacy, but they have the opposite effect on prosperity.

The laws raise the cost of doing business as marketing is forced to move to more expensive channels to acquire new customers. They reduce employment in telemarketing services firms. They are environmentally destructive. Yes, that's right, they will result in massive deforestation as direct mail replaces eco-friendly telemarketing and e-mail. Worst of all, these initiatives are creating a new endangered species: the golden goose. Where is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) when you need it?

The driving force in the American economy is small business, especially new companies. They account for large percentages of employment growth and increased economic output. New companies, whether bootstrapped or venture funded, face tremendous obstacles to success. Only half of start-ups last more than four years. Small firms already spend 60 percent more per employee to comply with federal regulations than large, more established firms. According to the Small Business Administration, small firms spend twice as much on tax compliance as their larger counterparts.

The public seems to expect the government to act as a kind of giant TiVo, filtering out all advertising before it is recorded on the eardrum or eyeball.
New companies currently face a perfect storm of obstacles beyond Do Not Call and Do Not Spam. They must now expense incentive stock options, amid a slow economy, with the venture capital industry in free fall.

Every society has to balance the virtues of freedom of speech with personal privacy. In the United States there has always been great leeway given to business speech, and this has had a major impact on the economy. New and pending legislation concerning the use of the telephone and e-mail as marketing channels, is a major threat to the principal driver of this economy. The new laws greatly restrict telephone and e-mail solicitations where there is not an existing business relationship with the consumer. But start-ups, by definition, have no such relationships.

Young companies typically advertise in their areas of geographic focus, rent telephone, mail, and e-mail lists and use them to build their initial customer base. Without easy access to such marketing channels, they will find it increasingly difficult to compete with established businesses. Existing businesses have long-term relationships with customers and should survive in the Do Not environment. Young businesses may have a great idea, and a hot product, but their ability to tell their story has been greatly reduced.

In its effort to do good, Congress has once again validated the law of unintended consequences.
Certainly, unsolicited commercial e-mail and telemarketing calls are annoying. However, the world is full of unpleasant things (Madonna, for example). Restricting access to marketing channels, especially for young companies, is a counterproductive restriction of free speech. Regulators should focus their efforts on companies that send unsolicited bulk e-mail, make fraudulent offers, or violate existing state and federal law. Otherwise, the time has come to back off just a bit.

In its effort to do good, Congress has once again validated the law of unintended consequences. Without a moratorium on such legislation, the next Do Not list may look a lot like the unemployment roll. As Will Rogers said, "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
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B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
All the more reason to work on our "relationship" marketing.

Although Marc Bluestone in his article in PFM (September 2003) writes that there are many people who don't want a relationship with their framer, I still believe that there are many who do. Of course that is "relationship" as in "treat me as a real person" instead of a "faceless consumer" as opposed to "tell me your life story" relationships.

Most young people have grown up without knowing that a business owner would/could greet you personally. They've never gotten "free air" for their bikes, or "just bring the rest of the money in the next time you come..." They don't know what it's like to actually be important to the business.

That type of service may not insure our survival, but it will make any demise a lot slower.

"Lists" are an important part of any advertising campaign, but it's about time that business got back to the "do unto others" type of marketing.

I say this is a good thing.



PFG, Picture Framing God
I, personally, will NOT do business with anyone who telemarkets me, emails me or faxes me. I started my business not that long ago by opening my doors and advertising in the yellow pages. It took about a year for it to really take off but it did. I am glad these bills are being introduced!! I hope all of the telemarketers are put out of work. Maybe they can do something constructive with their life instead of harrassing the rest of us with unwanted calls. I get so sick of having to stop my work or dealing with my customers to answer the phone just to find YET another mindless idiot on the other end of the line trying to sell me something I don't want, need, or ask for. How dare anyone think it is their right to intrude on my life like this. And to use the notion that somehow, if we stop this madness we will pay with the loss of trees is just pure pandering at its' finest. Remember trees are grown and regrown and the paper can be recycled. The demise of telemarketers and such will not signal the deforestation of the world. To even suggest this is absolutely rediculous!! Let's take your anology one step further. You telemarket the **** out of everyone and they come rushing into your store and all want alot of framing done. This then makes the frame manufacturers have to increase their output which means CUTTING MORE TREES. Whoa!! Can't do that!! We might deforest the whole world all bcause you decided to mass advertise.
The whole telemarketing, mass emailing and bulk faxing mess has long ago gotten out of hand and people want it stopped!! Not all government regulations are bad. Some really need to be enacted for the benefit of the MAJORITY of the people. Remember, this is supposed to be a place where the majority rules and that means someone often doesn't get what they want. Get over it and accept that the majority of the people do not to be inundated with this nonsense. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
No one dislikes the email spam or (even worse) telemarketing calls in the evening more than me.

While I think the do not call list for phones is a fairly good idea, and while I think the email problem is HUGELY out of control (more than 50% of all email is spam), I don't think these are truly enforceable by means of US laws. The internet is INTERNATIONAL, and the US has no business policing it. In other words, the vendors will just send the emails from foreign sources to get around the law.

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Right on Framah!

Dermot I am offended by being referred to as "tetchy" for being angry about 20+ calls a night during dinner and early evening over a communication system that I need to have turned on for many reasons. Maybe you don't have that large a problem in Ireland. I have reduced the number of calls to about half a dozen with a zapper. I am also forced to inconvenience my friends by forcing them to identify themselves via caller ID or a message before I will answer their calls. Altogether an unpleasant method to deal with marketers unwanted intrusions into my privacy. Bring on the do not call lists!!!

The same principles apply to E-mail and spammers. I wish there were a comparable way to deal with spam.

We need telephones and E-mail for private communication and should not be forced to accept unsolicited advertising.


John Gornall

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I never get telemarketing calls on my cell phone. I give people I want to be able to call me my cell number. When I want a quiet dinner or evening I turn my home phone off. I may cancel my home service soon. Do any of you get unsolicited calls on your cell phone?

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
I frequently get them on my cell :(

Caller-ID is a "must have". If I don't recognize it, they get the voicemail. The newest trend is companies that call the house and leave a lengthy (pre-recorded) sales pitch on the answering machine. They often make it sound like they're an old friend.

"Hi. Sorry I missed you. Hey, I was just calling to let you know about some new financing rates that just came out so you can lock in before its too late. If you can, please give me a call in the morning at the office. I should be here at...."... etc

I've been getting about two of these per day. They're usually from mortgage companies, vacation companies, or DirectTV installation companies.

When does the new law go into effect?

Bill Henry-

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
As much as I look forward to the kick in date of the "DoNotCall" list, keep in mind that some folks are exempt from it i.e. pollsters, people soliciting campagn contributions, charitable organizations, banks (credit card companies) and the numbskulls who prompted all this legislation in the first place, long distance telephone companies.

We're still gonna get calls, people!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I totally agree with Framah.
I, personally, will NOT do business with anyone who telemarkets me, emails me or faxes me.
I detest these people who invade my privacy. If I want to read their advertising or hear it on the radio, or watch it on tv, that is different. They didn't invade my space.

My cell phone doesn't get a signal this far out in the country. I had to drive to town last night, to call my Mom on it, because the computer tied up my phone. :rolleyes:


PFG, Picture Framing God
Wow. I nevr thought of putting buttermilk on my Post toasties!! I should try it. Maybe I'll be even cheerier in the morning than my usual happy-go-lucky self. After I've been working in my store until 9:30 at night every nite for the last two months, (litterally) , it usually takes me an hour or so before I'm really happy to see anyone in my store. I am SOOO looking forward to having the summer end!! I've been swamped the whole summer. Plus the "help" I was supposed to have start last week never showed this week! On the plus side... I'm really lookiing forward to the end of October when I'm heading to Churchill, Canada to photograph the Polar bears!!! :D :D But I still hate the stuff!! :rolleyes:


True Grumbler
My Mom over heard at the Atlanta convention someone saying that they had learned in a seminar that we are to only work half days - only 12 hours.
Think this may be what you guys call a frankenthread sorry

[ 09-11-2003, 11:03 PM: Message edited by: lindas3 ]


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Ever get the calls that just say "Please hold for an important message"? Now there is a real no brainer.
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