Caught in the Catch-22

CMP/United Business Media owns Byte magazine. Back
when Byte was
actually published on paper, I used to have a subscription. Then it
disappeared from the shelf and eventually became an online only
publication. I subscribed to the new version so I could read the famed
Chaos Manor column written by Dr. Jerry Pournelle.

But eventually CMP got rid of Dr. Pournelle. Perhaps the
events are not connected, but it seems that around that time, I began
to get all kinds of spam emails from one of CMP’s other
publications called Dr. Dobbs Journal. I especially got notices of
seminars that Dr. Dobbs was involved in. Unfortunately, these emails
were coded such that you could “unsubscribe” from _only_ the event that
they were currently advertising. That is, there is no way to
unsubscribe from ALL
events. This essentially means you will ALWAYS get these
spams. This is very clever. In some states, I wonder if it isn’t also
illegal because employing this method means you can never unsubscribe
from future mailings.

Even using their CMP Feedback Page, which leads to an “Unsubscribe
page doesn’t work. The unsubscribe page seems to be set to never allow
you to actually submit the page (it endlessly requires you to enter
your email address, which you already entered and a CAPTCHA, which is
never accepted)(yes, javascript was enabled).

In addition, their “Privacy
page is a model of errors. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that even I
make mistakes. But I’m just a private citizen with no money to hire an
editor. But if you look at the number of errors on the page, you have
to wonder if CMP spent any time/money on proofing what they have. For
example, they have a link to its corporate website: Internet savvy users will note that there is
an extra “.com” in the link. Hence, clicking on the link gets you nowhere.

In total, given the inability to unsubscribe, even when they
give you the illusion that you can, a rational person could easily come to the
conclusion that CMP was being less than honest. I hope these are just
inadvertent errors, but you have to wonder when a supposedly high tech
company can’t even get its own URL right.

YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



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