Boycott Watch
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Greeting Card Spam and the Consumer
Editorial by Fred Taub,
President, Boycott Watch

    The new rash of greeting card spam is more than just an annoyance, and the victims of this spam advent are not limited to people being annoyed or getting viruses. Companies such as American Greetings have invested millions of dollars into legitimate electronic greeting card systems, and spammers are rendering these systems useless because consumers will think twice before sending real greeting cards, and especially before spending money to subscribe to such services.

    As someone who has subscribed to the services of and received online cards from American Greetings, I can tell you that I will no longer use that service because I don't want anyone to accidentally confuse real and fake greeting cards - I do not want anyone to get computer viruses. At the same time I also believe that executives at companies such as American Greetings will not take these email scams lying down. I have known some of the executives at American Greetings for many years and although I have never spoken to them about this or any other business issue at American Greetings, I have to believe the they, like any other good corporate executives, will do everything they can to shut down this threat to their business.

    The greeting card spam is the first time a spam campaign has targeted a specific and legitimate business by a means with measurable harm. Yes, there are spammers that offer prescription medication, but that is illegal, and such spam emails do not give any clue as to if any real sales through pharmacies are impacted. In this case, people will refrain from using paid services, thus there are real damages, and as a result, spammers may be sued and potentially be put out of business.

    This is not stock advice, but in my eyes, there will be a short term negative hit on the profits of companies such as American Greetings this their stock prices as well, but in the long run this case will result in landmark changes in the spam industry and companies such as American Greetings will be stronger than ever.

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