Letter: Fax flotsam

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Over the past few months, we have saved unsolicited faxes we have received, rather than binning them as normal. We now have 177 sheets of yellowing paper.

Nearly half - 45 per cent - relate to electronic equipment and services: computers, web sites, mobile telephones and databases. Lists containing 100,000, 300,000 and a staggering 1.5 million business contacts have been offered to this small business - all useless for its needs.

Other products and services form the subject of a further 27 per cent. Flyers advertising industrial paints, hex screws and a galvanising spray have appeared. A certain leaflet even carries the warning that disposing of it may be sinful. The sender was not an obscure religious cult, but a company selling photocopiers.

Some 17.5 per cent are financial in nature - debt collection services and the like. The remaining 10.5 per cent are miscellaneous, providing opportunities to annoy friends, receive love guidance and lose weight.

Who on earth responds to this rubbish? Their arrival at our premises is the penalty of having a fax number in the public domain. Doubtless, in the same way, public e-mail addresses will attract ever increasing amounts of junk e-mail. As recent converts to the Internet, we have decided that our own e-mail address will be the electronic equivalent of ex-directory. How many other companies will take this step in the years to come?


WWAM Writers Ltd