The Art of Stealing Subscribers

A Checklist for the Wannabe Mailing List Owner

These rules are issued to assist those who want to build a subscriber base with a minimum of effort while duplicating existing lists. The Net is best served by repeating the same themes over and over again and never coming up with anything new or distinct. The following list lists the techniques which you can employ to cleanly destroy a list you covet while enhancing your own standing in the InterNet community.
  1. Remember, just because there is already a mailing list on the subject does not mean that there can't be a new one. Repetition is a good thing. Be sure to emphasize this by rehashing the description of the list you are emulating in every possible way.
  2. The best way to get a subscriber base for a new list is to steal from another list. Don't publish your list announcement publically, lest the facilitator of the old list and his friends ask you why there needs to be a new list in the first place. Write secretly to those who post on the list and ask them to join.
  3. Sooner or later, the existence of your list will be revealed to the owner of the old list. Be sure to insist on your "good faith" and accuse him of the opposite when he asks you why you thought it was necessary to start a new list. Be sure not to offer any concrete reason for the new list. If all else fails, just say Repetition is a good thing. This makes the owner paranoid, suspicious, and likely to do something that will make him look bad and you look good.
  4. Once you have been discovered, invite the owner of the other list to join your list. If the owner of the old list doesn't join yours, be sure to mention this to your loyal associates. You can argue that it only goes to show that he wants to have all the power to himself and really isn't sincerely interested in the topic.
  5. Remember that those who make the most trouble on the other list will be the greatest advocates of your list. Be sure to get them aboard your list and keep them there until they start making trouble for you. Do nothing to stop them from continuing to make trouble on the old list.
  6. If possible, crosspost or duplicate subject threads on both lists. This will encourage others to leave the old list because they are tired of repetition. If this backfires and they start to leave your list, ban crossposting immediately. Repetition is sometimes not a good thing.
  7. Remain a member of the old mailing list. Be sure to express your negative opinion wherever possible. Greet any proposed change at the old list as a challenge to your list and publically declare them to be so. Whenever possible, misquote the rules and policies of the old list in such a way as to reflect badly on the old list. Offer yourself as the shining alternative.
  8. Remember that as an owner of your own mailing list, you don't have to observe the rules of any other list. If you are kicked off a list for breaking them, call the list owner a "censor".
  9. Be sure not to allow announcements of other lists on your list. Complain loudly when other lists deny you the right to announce your list on their list.
  10. A good reason to start another list is that the parent list allows a topic which you do not want to discuss. The owner of that list is undoubtably a censor because he does not allow your opinion to become the guiding principle of the list.
  11. Whenever possible, be extremely civil to the owner of the list you are copying. Insist that nothing personal is meant by your starting a new list. Meanwhile keep telling your allies what a jerk the owner is and how much better you are.
  12. Repetition is a good thing. Repeat the above steps often.

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This page written by Joel GAzis-SAx
Copyright 1999 by Joel GAzis-SAx
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