When anti-Spam activists went after uber-Spammer Alan Ralsky last month, they went after the wrong man.

The fact is that if Spam were limited to Nigerian scams, herbal Viagra and other rip-offs, the reach and size of the problem would be very limited. Honest businesses would have nothing to worry about.

But the fact is Spam works. This was proven when the first "legitimate" business turned to Spamming its customers, and when they got away with it on the bottom line.

The name of that business is Amazon.com.

Amazon changed its "privacy" policies two years ago, stripping away consumer protection in the name of saving itself. If you buy from Amazon you're on the list, like it or not. And even if you're not on the list, Amazon's e-mail is likely to find you.

I know this because my own domain, a-clue.com, has several "Spam trap" addresses. Most didn't start out to be Spam traps. For instance, I wanted to encourage people to send me their questions, so I briefly put up a "Q and A" section on my site.

I took it down a few months later, so now I know that anyone sending mail to "qanda" at a-clue.com is using a Spam list. And Amazon sends plenty there.

Since I have bought from Amazon, several times, much of the Spam I get from them is pretty sophisticated. It offers me deals based on what I bought in the past. They are pretty good offers, sometimes.

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Dana Blankenhorn  (danablankenhorn@mindspring.com) is the author of the new book, The Blankenhorn Effect: How to Put Moore's Law to Work for You, available at Amazon.Com.