March 14th, 2007


Onus of proof?

Where should the burden of blocking spam rest? On the ISP mail server? At your server? In your client? With the person sending you mail? Making the person who sends you unsolicited mail respond to a mail message that asks them to click a link to go to a Web site and type in a captcha to get the mail through might sound like a good idea - although how you distinguish your legitimate spam filtering site from my phishing site is another question and aren't we telling users not to click links in email these days? It's certainly a burden to the sender and if I was a spammer I'd have a bot to do it for me - if the spam was really high value I'd extract the captcha and pay peanuts to college students to do it. These systems usually end up penalising the legitimate user...

But how about if the person sending you that unsolicited mail is responding to a mail you've sent them, perhaps through a directory site, asking them to get in touch if they're interested in a project? Making a potential business partenr jump through hoops to keep spam out of your inbox - does that send a message that you're professional or not?

Attention PRs: America is already on daylight savings time

Dear PR person
If you are setting up a phone interview for me with a US spokesperson, please take a look at the calendar and check what UK time corresponds to the US time you've booked and bear in mind that the US switched to daylight saving time last Sunday (I know because I was there and because I haven't had my head in a bucket for the last month: your IT team/calendar software/OS updater might have told you too, especially if you work in tech PR/have a client in the US/read the news). That way I won't get the call an hour before I'm expecting it, or phone in an hour late when the spokesexpert is packing up to leave.
Ditto if you're telling me about the conference call that's the only chance I'll have to speak to the high level representatives of the company about your new aquisition. You may think you're giving me nearly an hour's notice but actually you're telling me five minutes after the call starts (and no, listening to the recording isn't quite as useful).

I know March is a weird time to put the clocks forward. I know we're not actually in the US. I do always try to double-check times myself because I find timezones very confusing (that's why I nagged the Office team until Outlook 2007 now does timezones properly, why I've bookmarked and and why I appreciate being able to have two extra timezones on my clock in Vista). But this is one more thing in the rich tapestry of PR life that you need to get right, because it's part of the 99% perspiration that makes for good PR...