Call me old-fashioned but sales pitches based on paying to remedy or avoid misfortune stick in my craw. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? Today's response to the unfortunate suffering at the side of the road would be to sell him an on-demand, crawl-in medical emergency service, a new set of clothes and a monitored personal alarm for an annual fee. This G-Sam product would be advertised with words describing the 'certain man's plight' and showing how you could avoid it by buying products and services from G-Sam Inc.

What got me thinking these cynical thoughts?

Two things. IDG has named Zantaz the leader in the e-mail archiving market. Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley is offering $15 million to resolve an investigation by U.S. regulators into its failure to retain e-mails.

I was told this by a PR spokesperson acting for Mimosa Systems, who went on to say: "T.M. Ravi, president and CEO of Mimosa Systems ... is available as a resource on data management issues and is an expert on the subject. He’ll be happy to provide quotes for an article or to go over the issues companies need to think about to prepare and protect themselves for legal investigation.

Also: "As Morgan Stanley’s case points out, the cost of not implementing an email data management system can be much greater than implementing a solution. Companies are now responsible for setting document retention and discovery policies and they must be able to act upon them swiftly in the event of legal investigation or audit."

In parable terms Morgan Stanley is 'a certain man' and both Zantaz and Mimosa Systems are not 'a certain Samaritan'.

Okay, I'm sentimental and childish and both Zantaz and Mimosa Systems almost certainly build and sell great products. But don't you find yourself regretting that these two companies and others pounce on businesses affected by irritating government legislation and sell them products to help them comply - and do so with sales pitches based on anxiety and fear?

When I read 'the cost of not implementing an email data management system can be much greater than implementing a solution' I hear the gleeful chuckles of a product pricing committee, also the relieved but bored sigh from a marketeer realising that their brochure text has just written itself.

Ohhhhh dear. You better buy our product or you'll be so soooorrrryyyyyyyy!!!!!

I know, I know, grow up, it's not personal, it's just business.

But I don't have to like it.

The parable
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.