I am a spammer now.
I work for a non-profit organization that solicits donations from its members. Normally this is done through snail mail to people that have responded to our web site or have written us for more informaition. We also send out snail mail thank you letters to the people that send us money.
Previous attempts to send out mass e-mails have failed, in large part due to the incomptetance of the people trying it.
Naturally, I spoke up. "I can do that in ColdFusion," I said. "That would be easy."
Well, I was drafted. The code was trivial, the numbers paltry, but we do have a fairly small network with which to pump out those messages, and no one was sure our exchange server could handle it.
The first batch went smoothly, about 8000 emails went out, roughly 15 percent bounced. That was fine, since interns usually are responsible for data entry and they just don't do a very good job at quality control most of the time.
The second batch was about 10,000 messages. I don't know how many bounced that time. I wrote the SQL and then went on vacation. I worked wonderfully, and the people in charge of getting us more money are just tickled pink that this is finally working.
So, it isn't a lot of emails. We quit as soon as they ask us to. They are only to people that have requested the information. We can be contacted and provide many ways of doing so, in fact we encourage it.
So why do I still feel so guilty?