LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

Pete Blackshaw's warning about spam's harmful effects on advertising tells only half the story ("Spam issue is our fight," Viewpoint, AA, March 10). The spam problem teaches consumers not only to block out marketers' messages but also to hide themselves.

Consumers are indeed busy blocking out spam, pop-ups and other intrusions with anonymizers, filters and other defensive weapons. Less visible but equally important, spam has a chilling effect; it intimidates consumers from joining discussions, filling out surveys and subscribing to mailing lists because they fear an addressable individual online will get deluged with e-junk. Just when many businesses are seeking to start meaningful relationships with consumers, those consumers are finding it necessary to shield themselves, actively with software tools and passively with their reluctance to be visible.

Intrusions such as spam might be solved by some form of government intervention, e.g., regulation, law, tax policy, etc. But those tactics won't win consumers back. Trust cannot be won by government edict.

This trust will only come when companies and consumers figure out ways to negotiate win-win exchanges of messaging and attention so that today's adversarial no-man's land is breached by communications that are worth developing and protecting. If we leave the space empty and fail to fill it with meaningful communications, spammers will prevail and deservedly so.

Len Ellis

Exec VP-Enterprise Strategy

Wunderman

New York

U.S. anti-drug ads are back on track

It's good to read that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is getting back on track and that all parties recognize the central importance of preserving the campaign ("Drug office to yank terror ads in about face," AA, March 31).

At a time when kids' anxiety level is up over the war, worries about their parents' jobs and fears of terrorism, it's more important than ever to deliver a strong anti-drug message.

The temptations of a drug-induced escape are stronger than they have ever been and prevention-program budgets are being slashed at the state and local levels. So it's a welcome relief to know that Congress wants to continue the campaign and return to the roots that made it so effective as a partnership between the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Susan K. Patrick

President

Governor's Prevention Partnership

Hartford, Conn.

Rep. Souder backs ads linking drugs to terror

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