Throwing the Baby Out With the Bathwater

We all hate spyware. It’s on my Internet Axis of Evil list.

So I was pleased to hear that congress is going to issue some laws that will address this issue.

We got a hold of the bills and read them. It is Can-Spam all over again. These well intentioned legislators don’t understand our industry well enough to regulate it. They want to take cookies off our machines so publishers have no way to target online advertising. That’s not a good thing. So I did the same thing I did with Can-Spam.

I went to see My Senator.

Can Spam was a more difficult situation because Chuck had already staked out a position and, unfortunately, it was not the right one. We had a lot of work to do to get him to move to a better position.

This time around, spyware was just getting his attention. We explained that there are good guys and bad guys in the online ad business and the bad guys are ruining it for the good guys by pissing off consumers. We explained that cookies have been an instrumental part of online advertising for years and that they are not bad. We explained that the industry has been developing some rules about what is “good” and what is “bad” behavior and that congress should work closely with the industry in developing these bills.

Chuck listened. And he put us in touch with the right people in Washington. So we are going to help the congress get this one right, like they did in the end with Can Spam.

Phew.