Addicted to novelty since 2001

Make Neither Love Nor Spam

Last week I wrote about Lycos’s controversial anti-spam screensaver. Predictably, the whole effort went pear-shaped and Lycos got into spin-mode:

Lycos has shut down the campaign saying it had been started to stimulate debate about anti-spam measures and had now achieved this aim…But the campaign was controversial from the moment it kicked off and many net veterans criticised it for using spamming-type tactics against the senders of junk mail. Some net service firms began blocking access to the Lycos Europe site in protest at the action.

“Stimulate debate about anti-spam measures”? Yeah, right, that was their goal. Let’s be clear: their goal was to generate some PR for their company. In this, they were successful. I don’t know about you, but when I read the original story I said to myself, “does Lycos still exist?” What they should have said was “you know what, this was an experiment. We gave it a try, and it didn’t work out. We’ll go back to the drawing board.” People would feel better about them, and they’d retain all the PR gains they’ve recently earned.