Going to MAAWG


Following on from last weeks post about MAAWG, I thought I’d write a bit about actually going to MAAWG. You’re an ESP and you’ve been accepted into the organization. Now you have some decisions to make.

Who should go to MAAWG from your company?

Send at least one person from your compliance or abuse desk. At the very, very least send someone who sets your policies. Don’t just send high level executives or anyone who sets the goal to collect as many business cards as possible.

Who shouldn’t go to MAAWG from your company?

People who have nothing to do with stopping abuse from your systems shouldn’t go. People who think that this is a marketing conference shouldn’t go. People who think it is acceptable to follow someone into the bathroom and ask them for a business card at a urinal, shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without supervision.

What should you do at MAAWG?

There are a lot of things to do at MAAWG, and a wide breadth of sessions about messaging abuse. Many of them don’t always have to do with sending mail, some of them are from elected officials (or their representatives), law enforcement or policy makers.

  1. Go to all the sender sessions.
  2. Pick at least one session that doesn’t have to do with sending mail. Even if it isn’t your area, listen to what other people are talking about and doing in the field of messaging abuse.
  3. Respect people’s time. A lot of participants have packed schedules and may not have time to talk to strangers.
  4. Outside of sessions talk about things other than email.
  5. Inside sessions don’t be afraid to comment, but avoid making every comment about how that isn’t going to work for marketers or bulk senders or is going to make things harder for them.

What shouldn’t you do at MAAWG?

To quote Wil Wheaton: don’t be a dick. Need some examples?

  1. Don’t hover around the edges of conversations waiting to be able to hand an ISP rep your business card.
  2. Don’t start every conversation with “we don’t send spam.”
  3. Don’t chase people into restrooms looking to exchange cards.
  4. Don’t expect ISP reps to be interested in talking to you about your specific email problems in the hallway, or at the social events.

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  • I’d suggest that #4 of “What Shouldn’t You Do” could probably end after the word “problems”. “Hoping” to find someone willing to discuss your specific problems is one thing; “expecting” it is a little entitled.

  • Don’t start by explaining your business model. Don’t start by explaining how YOU are DIFFERENT from ALL THOSE OTHER PEOPLE (who all want the same thing) and your case is SPECIAL so you should deserve SPECIAL TREATMENT, not like all those other people who sound just exactly like you, because they are exactly like you. Understand Ugol’s Law — no matter how unique you are, there’s a hundred people on the internet just like you. If you’re one in a million, that means there’s six thousand chinese people who are exactly like you. …and all of them have blogs. You are not the Lone Intelligent ESP representative to ever show up at a MAAWG, and because of that, you are NOT in a unique position to solve problems that have existed for ten years. …and so on.

  • “Send at least one person from your compliance or abuse desk.”
    Hey, that’s me!
    Thanks for this Laura. =)
    I’ll be taking this and the comments to heart.
    Looking forward to MAAWG 2011 (my first), with just my notebook.

  • Really excellent post. I second J.D.’s point. If you’re new, wouldn’t it be great o come in with a sense of the kind of work that’s been done.

By laura

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