Ugh. CNNFn has a story about what John Sculley is doing these days. The short answer — he’s turned into a vulture capitalist fronting for Gizmoz.
Gizmoz, it turns out, is one of a small group of companies with a vision — spam for the broadband age. That’s right folks, now rather than just getting those “Girls, girls, girls” and “Need some easy money?” spam in plaintext or HTML, Sculley and company want to send you full motion audio and video.
Here’s own CNNFn summarizes the plans of one of Gizmoz’s competitors, RadicalMail,
At the heart of the Radical approach is a small applet written in the Java programming language and delivered via e-mail. When a user clicks on the mail icon to open the message, the action pings the Radical computer servers to deliver a video file, Flash animation, an audio clip like a pop song — whatever the client wants to send. This content comes to life most often within the e-mail window.
You just got DSL and now the spammers want to make it unusable by clogging up your Internet connection with their crappy ads. This is progress?
Of course the spammers see it differently,
Such technology holds the promise of giving companies unprecedented access to information about their customers — and raises the threat of unprecedented privacy intrusions. The marketer can tell, for instance, when clients open their e-mail, whether they stay with the streaming media file, and whether they follow through on a transaction.
As a result, the competitors are careful to emphasize that these e-mails are not unwanted “spam” spewed at random across the Internet. Instead, they say they rely on “opt-in” mailing lists and “permission-based” marketing programs, in which consumers request the information they send.
Yeah right. Most opt-in marketing schemes are bogus because, a) they default to opting you in, and b) they make it too difficult to get out.
Sometime in the past couple years I installed Quicktime on one of my computers and now regularly get updates from Apple about its upcoming products. Similarly, several years ago I signed up to receive some updates via email from Wired owned sites, and could not for the life of me figure out how to unsubscribe later. Finally the stupid e-mail stopped when Wired’s internet properties changed hands and the part I’d been subscribed to got dropped.
One of the people quoted in the CNNFn story is still using yesterday’s buzzwords, extolling the virtue of e-mail as push media. Except when it comes to spam like this it’s more like pushing and shoving.