MAAWG and email appending


In today’s Magill Report Ken says:

The only surprise in the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group’s statement last week condemning email appending was that it didn’t publish one sooner.
However, MAAWG’s implication that email appending can’t be accomplished without spamming is nonsense.

Ken does have a point. I can come up with a number of scenarios where recipients give permission to have their data appended. It’s not totally impossible to append with permission. I don’t think MAAWG would argue that appending with permission is a violation of MAAWG core values.
But that’s all in theory. The fact that someone could do email appending with permission doesn’t mean they are. In fact, no one is. It’s expensive to do appending with permission and the return is low. There is a very practical reason no one is doing appending with permission: it’s not cost effective.
Let me put it another way. You can’t actually get enough people to opt-in to an appending process to pay for the cost of appending.
And that is why I am OK with MAAWG publishing a strong statement against appending without any nuance. Appending with permission is not a valid business model, so no appending service is going to offer it. I’m also convinced if someone did, somehow, come up with some magic business model that makes appending with permission cost effective that MAAWG would amend their statement.
But spending months (or years given the actual conversation) coming up with the right carve out language to accommodate non-existent business models seems a waste of time.

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  • Speaking of carving out an exception:
    It’s NOT a waste of time – for spammers and spam apologists to point out an exception.
    It’s a means to obfuscate the issue and draw attention away from the thing MAAWG has tried to bring attention to. So I’m not surprised by Ken’s article. Admittedly, pointing (carving) this exception out is probably a waste of time – except for the chuckle value. 🙂

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