How the military made Spam an iconic American brand

I hope everybody survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday! It's still a busy week but when you've got things under control, why not take a break and spend it reading about how the military made Spam (the food) an iconic American brand, courtesy of Navy Times.

Best Practices on Domain Name Choices: What TLD should I use?

As a follow up to my previous post on domain name choice best practices, here's an additional two cents I wanted to share. Because I get this question all the time -- should I use my ".com" domain for my email program? Or should I register a ".email" domain or a domain under some other cool and hip TLD?

There are a lot of new TLDs (top level domains) available nowadays. You could register your domain in the old school ".com", or you could register under ".gallery" if you perhaps ran an art gallery, as just one of many possible examples.

But I wouldn't. I'd just stick with good old dot com. And here's why.

  • Different, new, possibly lightly used TLDs have a risk of being perceived as spammy. Which ones are believed to be spammy and which ones aren't, I'm not able to tell you. That research is something I just have not done myself. But look at the historical precedent with the .biz TLD. Or how about .PW? Yeah, those aren't very recent examples, and newer TLDs could perhaps be better policed or have a better reputation. But it's not something that I'm not going to risk or even bother with, and I don't think you should either. Some spam filters may be suspicious of your unusual TLD choice. Maybe not many, but why risk it?
  • If you use a domain name with a long TLD (like .photography, for example, you could run into email systems that won't recognize email addresses at your domain. Some older internet systems may be hardcoded to allow only the very old school list of TLDs that the internet was locked in to for oh so many years. Also, some of them might only allow for a 3-4 letter long TLDs, depending on how they're coded. Is this problem that common? No, but, it's something I've personally run into when testing email over new TLDs.
  • I don't know anything about ".net" but what I've heard of people having trouble with ".org" domain suspensions. I don't quite understand the reasons why, and I'm not sure if it relates to this complaint about .org policies from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but it's not something I'm really eager to learn more about the hard way.
  • I think we still have a long way to go before most of the general public understands that the internet is comprised of many more TLDs beyond .com. For better or worse, sticking to what everyone already knows might make it easier for your random less-savvy internet user to be understand or reference your email domain name.

I realize there isn't a lot of hard data here. And my take is certainly quite subjective. Consider these "just one person's opinion" and take them with as many grains of salt as needed. But if you were wondering what I would or wouldn't do...now you know.

Egypt’s economic court fines insecticide company for SMS spam

Sometimes those of us with a quite-possibly-myopic worldview might assume that outside of North America and Europe, spam regulation doesn't exist. Well, here's an example where Egypt's National Telecom Regulatory Authority filed a complaint against an insecticide company for, among other things, sending unsolicited mobile text messages. That resulting 900,000 Egyptian pound court fine works out to almost $56,000 in US dollars.

Yahoo Groups is changing

The folks behind Yahoo Groups sent out a notice a couple of days ago indicating that they are making changes to Yahoo Groups. They say that these changes are to make Yahoo Groups more email-oriented by removing the ability to participate in Yahoo Groups discussions on the web.  They'll be taking away the "message board" style communication functionality to drive Yahoo Groups communication back to email. 

SPAM Alert!

Not that kind--the other kind! From Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine: Trendy chefs are celebrating SPAM coast-to-coast, and they’re leaving us in the dust.

Chicken-fried spam tacos? I want to try those!

Can I use FOIA to source lists?

Sure! It's legal. Is it wise? Um....let's skip that point for a moment. Let's start with, "it's legal!"

What does "FOIA" mean in this context? Wikipedia to the rescue:
 The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, is a federal freedom of information law that requires the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government upon request. 
Apart from the U.S. federal government's Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. states have their own varying freedom of information laws.
Querying a government agency to get information back is almost always referred to as "obtaining this information via FOIA" even if that's not exactly the correct governing law in some circumstances.