Re: Commercial Advertising
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 15:50:07 -0400

I'm also sympathetic to Dean Stevens in this case because the company in
question is not always responding to specific information requests, but
responding to virtually _every_ request for information with a stock or
canned reply to check its website. After six or eight of these in a day or
two I can understand why someone's patience is tried. Mine is too.

I know there are no hard rules for this, but as a distributor I try to make
it a point to respond to an inquiry only if I can make a specific
recommendation from my collection (or someone else's, for that matter). I
believe that nearly all distributors who follow the list do the same. I
would argue that a canned reply of "check our catalog" or "check our
website," with _no specific suggestions or answers_ to the question posed
on the list, is indeed inappropriate.

Otherwise, every distributor who monitors this list could simply write out
a "check our catalog or website" template letter and send it to the list in
response to every title search inquiry posted. If the company in question
indeed has a specific title to recommend or point the inquiry to on its
website, I'd say that's fine and appropriate. I'd also say it's appropriate
to make an initial announcement of the existence of the website or of
significant updates to it (that's potentially useful information to many
list members, after all). But a repeated, template-style "check our
website" rsponse to list inquiries, with no specifics mentioned, seems to
me to go beyond the bounds of netiquette.

My $.02.

Daniel Bickley
University of California Extension
Center for Media and Independent Learning
2000 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-642-1340; fax 510-643-9271