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Last week was a forgettable one for Crikey. A fairly fundamental mistake lead to the publication of part of the Crikey subscriber list. That was just the start. By the end of it Ash Long had shown his true colors and Crikey was wiser for the experience.

I remember shaking Stephen’s hand, giving Paula a hug and wishing them both well on their travels. “It’s all cool mate – see you in July !”. Unitl this week everyhting was “cool”. Crikey was ticking over, albeit a little slower than I would like, but we were publishing. The regular contributors were delivering and ad hoc contributions were rolling in. Essentially it was business as usual.

Business As Usual

Last sunday was much like the previous 19 – up early compiling the next edition of crikey. As fate would have it, I didn’t have everything I needed to publish crikey on Sunday. Edition 20 popped out by about noon on Monday, but the heads up email for subscribers was going to have to wait, the day job was winning and time was scarce.

Butterfly Wings & Cyclones

It had been a long day, I was tired and a raging head ache had set in for the evening. I sat down to send out the heads up email by about 7pm. By about 7:10pm I only had one batch left to send. I opened a new mail message. I’de like to go back to this moment and whisper in my ear “change the receipiant type to BCC”. I pasted in the subscriber list, pasted in the message body and pressed send. As far as I was concerned that was the end of edition 20.

Usually I check that the mail has been delivered but not that night. By 7:30pm I was in bed asleep.

Opportunism

The first I knew of my mistake was midday tuesday. I checked my mail and there were quite a few irate (“are out of your f___ing mind ?) and questioning (“did you mean to send every crikey subscriber email address out”) emails. Oh Shit ! What have I done ? Did I actually do this ?

At this stage I knew things were going to get worse. A quick glance at the rest of my mail and there it was. A crikey subscriber had seen the opportunity and spammed the list.

With my tail between my legs I wrote to the effected subscribers admitting my mistake and apologising. I also wrote to the offending subscriber and informed him that his subscription to crikey had now been cancelled and that further use of the list would see him being reported to the relevant spamming authorities.

I must admit to being pretty disappointed at my own actions and pretty annoyed at the actions of the spammer. By this time it was Tuesday night and I was hoping that this was the end of the saga.

Reckless & Unacceptable

Wednesday began with an unexpected bomb in my email. Ash Long the publisher of Media Flash and regular crikey contributor, had taken the subscriber list and published it in last weeks edition of Media Flash along with a paragraph having a dig at crikey.

The fact that Ash has seen fit to have a go at Crikey is not a concern. Crikey is a part of the media and we welcome any/all criticism/feedback/commentary. However, Ash has crossed the line by reproducing the crikey subscriber list in Media Flash. Why ? He is feuling the lowest of low net activities – spamming. His acts were premeditated and calculating. For reasons unknown to me he has attempted to do as much damage to Crikey as possible. This is a little strange as we’ve been reproducing Media Flash for over 2 months. You work it out I can’t !

The Downside

Within a couple of hours of Media Flash being published, the spam started rolling in. The first one was the best, some guy with a used car web site spammed us. He was very polite, promising only to send us all just one email unless we contacted him asking for more.

On a different level, the activities of Ash and others like him will give ammunition to those wishing regulate the internet and limit the freedoms it brings us all. We all need to be mindful.

The Upside

So what it is the upside ? Crikey was honest about the gaff and as a result we’ve had many emails with messages of support. (Check out this weeks your say for a sample. )

Only one subscriber has asked for their money back which will be refunded in full ! Everybody else saw the incident for what it was – a mistake.

The Wash Up

I’m getting an automail out tool. I never want anything like this to happen again !

Frankly, tossers like Ash feul my fire. His great strides toward mediocrity are self condeming. If anything crikey will get stronger as a result of his pathetic efforts without Media Flash.

Anybody wishing to receive Media Flash should contact Ash or just read the papers and watch TV and get the info first hand.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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