Dear Purdue Pharma: A Public Apology

Spam is apparently my problem and shouldn't be yours.


Dear Purdue Pharma,

You wrote me an e-mail today in which you implied that it appears on a certain site I manage your name might have been attached to spam advertisements. I won't republish the email here because that would be rude of me and of questioning legality. I know others have posted emails with very similar wording online and there's a real question about whether it's legally permissive to post a private email in a public space without consent. So I won't do that.

That being said it appears I owe you a huge apology which I want to make public. You made several assertions in your email to me that I think are worth addressing here just to clear the air.

I agree that it appears spam has become a real problem on the web. While I don't think it has necessarily been a problem that suddenly appeared in the last few months, I do understand that Google began punishing websites recently that used such evil practices to promote their products. Funny how the timing of those changes to the Google algorithm has resulted in companies contacting me requesting that I remove spam I never put there. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence. As you mentioned, you never personally hired any company to perform such sleazy low-level underhanded bullshit methods of flooding legitimate sites with advertisements to pharmaceuticals made by your company. I'm sure those evil spammers (who are not you and not hired by you) did it out of the kindness of their heart to spread the good word about your product.

Indeed you are correct that the advertisements may even be harmful as you cannot verify the authenticity of the product being peddled unwarranted and without permission on my site. It could be a serious health hazard and any upstanding company would have a moral obligation to make sure that the only advertisements littered across the web referring to their product are legitimate in their authenticity.

You are also correct in that you hold intellectual property and trademark rights in all of the various brands that have somehow been injected into one of my websites. I would never want a visitor to think that somehow I was a multi-billion dollar company selling pharmaceuticals on a website meant for K-12 and Higher Education students to collaborate on maker projects. I can see how it would be confusing for a visitor to somehow think that such a partnership between a company like Purdue Pharmaceuticals and such a site could be legitimate at all (I'm certainly confused as to how those advertisements got there since I haven't been paid for their placement, but I understand that's not your concern since you definitely didn't hire anyone to practice such corrupt and malevolent methods of advertising). You have a brand to protect after all. Small note of contention, the link in question would only be infringement if I were the one to have put it there. Since, as you rightly pointed out, the true culprit of the spam is some mysterious person(s) in the ether then I guess we'll have to come to an agreement that the infringement is not of my doing.

I will happily remove the spam listing from my website so that Google will understand that Purdue Pharma certainly must not have been involved in hiring any company that injects advertisements for your products unsolicited in web forms. After all, the ads don't exactly fit with the mission of the site anyway. If you happen to have any contacts in the Viagra, Weight Loss, or Premium Handbag industries I'd appreciate you passing along to them that I'll do my best to get those removed as well.

Big Fan,

Tim Owens

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