[SOUNDSTAGE!] Marc Mickelson is the
Editor-in-Chief of SoundStage!
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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
November 2004

Getting Pushy

Hey, need a new Rolex?

If you have an e-mail account (if you're reading this you likely do), you get more and more e-mail come-ons each week. The latest of these tries to peddle Rolex watches to gullible e-buyers. Even if your Internet service provider attempts to block such junk e-mail at the server, before it gets to your inbox, some of it still gets through. Spam artists are just like hackers: patch one hole and they'll find another.

This is the way the Internet works nowadays. Spam is an example of push media, as opposed to SoundStage! and other online sources of information you visit, which rely on the pull model. The difference is simple: when you visit a website, you are there voluntarily and "pull" content from it, but when people send you spam, they "push" it at you. In the former you have the option of visiting a certain website or not, and in the latter you have no choice as to whether you'll get the e-mail sent your way -- or do you?

The latest craze among developers of Internet sites, including those sites that supply audio-related content, is the e-mail list. Websites solicit you to join their lists, sometimes by offering free access or giving you some tchotchke in return. You are "updated" on all manner of goings on, and in return the website developers get your name and, more importantly, your valid e-mail address. Get enough valid e-mail addresses and you create a group of people you can sell to in various ways, including by adding advertising to the e-mail you send. In this case, a pull medium morphs into a push medium, you get more spam, and the line between legitimate information and junk e-mail is all the more blurred. This is the world in which we live, the world of stealth marketing. The net effect is that you don't get a minute's peace from people trying to separate you from your money.

If your favorite websites don't engage in this practice now, they will -- with a few exceptions. The SoundStage! Network will not be twisting your arm to get your e-mail address and then bombard you with "news and updates." The reasons we won't do this are simple: we think it's unscrupulous and, moreover, we hate getting spam. Businesses rarely consider your aggravation viable justification for avoiding a marketing practice, especially if there are even a few dollars to be made. But that's not the way it is here at SoundStage! -- we don't like getting spam, and we won't be sending it to you.

It is true, however, that we do maintain a mailing list -- one that we've been building for many years. It contains the names and e-mail addresses of contacts within the consumer-electronics industry, and we use it to let those companies on it know what the future holds for SoundStage! Network sites. Some companies have opted off this list, but the vast majority -- 99.999% -- want to be on it, often so they can let us know what's happening with them. For instance, when we announce a show we'll be covering, companies attending reply, inviting us by for greetings and pictures. We are on many similar manufacturer e-lists, and we value the give and take. It's push followed by pull, and good for everyone involved.

But that's business -- you are our readers. And where you are concerned, there won't be any spam from us. You can set your Rolex watch by that.

...Marc Mickelson

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