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  1. #1
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    Opposite the Slough of Despond
    This was posted on /. - but it's worth reposting here.. an article entitled Why am I Getting All This Spam? (requires Acrobat Reader)

    All your commission are belong to us.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    How about the newest spammer technique ..."BOIS Ad-warez"

    from Clickz article
    "BY Pamela Parker | 2-14-2003

    The pitch: Get your message to Internet users instantly, in a format they're almost guaranteed to pay attention to, and pay much less than you would for an e-mail marketing campaign. Avoid spam filters and spam laws. In fact, avoid cluttered e-mailboxes entirely. You don't even need an e-mail list. Target geographically by IP address, and get nearly instant feedback on your campaign.

    Sounds good, right?

    That's the proposition put forward by a number of software companies touting their ability to reach people instantly, right on their desktops, no matter what Web site they're visiting -- even if they're not surfing at all. Products such as galaxySend, ip-adverts, and MassDirect Advertiser -- for a low, low price of just hundreds of dollars -- let marketers send messages via a built-in Windows OS feature called "Messenger service." The ad pops up in a little window that looks exactly like Windows system messages. They originate from the Web, not your computer, but how's a neophyte computer user to know that?

    The ads fall into a category of deceptive messaging techniques that use Microsoft "features," either in Windows or Internet Explorer, to dupe hapless computer users who are conditioned to believe messages appearing in those gray boxes must be important.

    One of the most common has been dubbed the "drive-by download." Maybe you've experienced it when you mistyped a URL or somehow landed on a not-so-reputable site. What happens is a gray box with the heading "Security Warning" pops up and asks if you want to install and run a certain program.

    This can happen at reputable Web sites, too -- often, at page with content requiring a plug-in you don't have (usually for rich or streaming media content). The difference is drive-by downloads ask you to download software not needed to view the page content. It may do something else entirely.

    Both scenarios use the same technical mechanism, but one tricks computer users. After surfing the Web for a while, they begin to trust those gray message boxes, knowing (or thinking they know) the software they're asked to download is necessary to see the page. Drive-by downloads exploit this trust.

    "The marketer is sort of force-feeding you this software rather than your getting it yourself," said Richard M. Smith, a noted Internet privacy expert. "Even if you say, 'No, I don't want this thing,' you have to keep saying no, no, no, every time."

    It's enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth about going online at all and enough to give interactive marketers a bad name. Needless to say, don't let yourself be tempted by these techniques. They may deliver a short-term spike in sales, but mostly what they'll do is damage your brand's credibility. Who wants to be viewed as an unwanted invader of someone's computer? Worse, employing the drive-by download technique, even if it does give users a chance to refuse, could lump you in with other software companies that have raised the ire of computer users.

    Short of Microsoft rewriting its operating system to disable these features -- difficult, as they do have legitimate uses -- what can be done about these scourges? Education is the best defense. I encourage you to discuss the issue with your friends and families -- especially when the subject of the Internet comes up and you hear complaints about ads (nearly inevitable these days).

    With drive-by downloads, education and search engines are allies. When asked if you'd like to download a Brand X app, do some quick research before clicking "yes."

    Messenger service spam, as it's come to be called, is more easily defeated. A firewall, which is important for Internet security anyway, can prevent these messages from arriving. If your computer runs Windows XP, the latest updates allow you to turn on an Internet connection firewall, which does the trick. Alternatively, people can turn off the Messenger service entirely, although doing so prevents legitimate messages, such as alerts from anti-virus software, from getting through as well. (Of course, you could avoid this mess entirely by using a Mac or Linux operating system.)

    Although Microsoft provides information on its Web site about addressing the problem, the company doesn't seem overly concerned, saying it doesn't pose a security threat.

    "Spammers are apparently blindly sending text advertisements to the Messenger service on a range of IP addresses," a Microsoft spokesperson told me. "These messages, like all Messenger messages, do not allow the sender to take any action on the recipient's computer and can be cleared by simply closing the pop-up dialogue. Microsoft has received inquiries on this, but because the spam can be stopped with the Internet Connection Firewall, it does not seem to be a growing problem."

    Already, one of the better-known purveyors of Messenger service spamming software,, appears to have gone out of business, or at least has taken down its Web site. (The link is to a cached Google image of the company's home page.) One side of me hopes the growth of Messenger service spam will nose-dive before it really gets started. But the other side is more cynical, thinking unscrupulous marketers will continue to employ it, as long as it makes them money. Help spread the word and ensure it doesn't.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    You e-mail marketers are screwed by those amongst your ranks who though no one cared if they got on your Opt-Out list....ROLMAO

    BY Rebecca Lieb | 4-4-2003

    The bad news for those of us combating spam is... we're losing. Despite an ever-escalating hue and cry from consumers, legislators, businesses, marketers, ISPs, and a burgeoning number of anti-spam coalitions, organizations, and task forces, the problem has grown worse -- much, much worse.

    Mutterings that spam could kill e-mail as we know it (certainly marketing as we know it) are escalating into a new fear voiced in ISP and other tech quarters. There are mutterings spam could put an end to the Internet as we know it.


    The numbers are as sobering as they are stunning. Spam accounted for 8 percent of the world's e-mail in late 2001. Now, 40 percent of e-mail is spam, says Brightmail. Junk e-mail doubled in the last six months. It metastasized nearly 3 percent between last December and January of this year alone.

    Incredulous? Ask any ISP. AOL says spam doubled in the last six months. Calling the situation a "crisis," the company blocks close to 1 billion junk messages daily. Yet 4 million spam reports pour in every day from AOL's 26 million subscribers.

    Much of what they report, of course, is legitimate, opt-in e-mail.

    EarthLink recently reported its spam traffic shot up 500 percent over the last 18 months. Microsoft just slapped a daily limit on the number of messages users of its free service can send, in an attempt to manage the outbound problem. Yahoo!'s launched an aggressive anti-spam campaign, complete with a sweepstakes to encourage users to report unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE).

    Rest assured, plenty of trigger-happy consumers use the "This Is Spam" button in lieu of "unsubscribe," making a bad thing for marketers even worse.

    ISPs have little choice but to appear proactive, even to the point of blocking solicited commercial e-mail from inboxes. That their servers are pounded by spam is bad enough. Worse, subscribers blame ISPs for befouled mail accounts. Spam is ISP customer service complaint number one and the reason behind most subscriber churn. In 1999, 7 percent of people who changed e-mail addresses cited spam as the reason. Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) change an e-mail address annually. Recently, NFO WorldGroup found 64 percent of personal e-mail address changes are due to spam and/or an ISP switch.

    The opt-in e-mail these people requested... bounces.

    Sure, there's a huge contingent out there (including many ClickZ readers) whose stance is more or less summed up as: Spam? Deal with it.

    We do. Spam cost U.S. businesses $9 billion last year in additional equipment, software, and employees needed to combat the problem, plus lost productivity, according to Ferris Research. Cost this year? Over $10 billion.

    On the consumer level, quantities of scams, porn, and malicious viruses pour into the e-mail accounts of those too young, IT-challenged, or momentarily off-guard to rise to a considerable, multifaceted challenge.


    Five or six months ago, I obtained a list of about 120 anti-spam products currently on the market. I estimate the panoply of solutions, from the consumer to enterprise level, has doubled since then. Some are nearly useless. Some are pretty darned good. But this is an arms race, and the bad guys are winning.

    Bottom line: If there were a product out there that worked, new product announcements wouldn't cross my desk on a daily basis. Often, the "solutions" come with their own problems. Improperly or inexpertly configured filters have zapped plenty of e-mail traffic (all e-mail traffic) into never-never land. It's happened to AT&T, foreign ISPs, and many end users.

    Legislation that reaches all the way to the state line (even to a national border) is more official position than deterrent. Twenty-six states have anti-spam laws, and more are pending. Only one, Delaware, bans bulk UCE outright. States do little enforcement. Laws are used primarily by companies to sue the most egregious (and trackable) spammers.

    Twenty spam bills, spanning everything from opt-in to wireless messaging, have been introduced in Congress. So far, nothing's happened. On the federal level, only the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a track record of prosecuting spammers on consumer fraud charges.

    At the end of this month, the FTC will hold a three-day Spam Forum in Washington to explore the problem from every conceivable angle. Technologists, ISPs, marketers, list brokers, attorneys, government officials, legislators, and foreign representatives will convene to examine the problem.

    ISPCON, the annual gathering for the ISP industry, has all but dedicated this year's conference to looking at spam, again, from a myriad of angles and perspectives.

    Neither event can be expected to provide an instant solution. But both are doing something that's been lacking so far in the spam wars: ending the Balkanization between special interest groups. I'll attend both and will let you know what transpires.

    Spam affects everyone who's online and has an e-mail account. As illustrated above, what different constituencies do to combat spam can adversely affect interested parties. An ISP protecting its relationship with subscribers by combating spam can, at the same time, damage of legitimate marketers' interests.

    Maybe if there's any good news on the spam front, it's that no single party fighting the good fight has yet managed to make significant progress against spam and badly damage another combatant in the process (not that anyone is emerging unscathed).

    If we're taking this from the top, as it appears we must, it's in everyone's interest to present a united front.

    Bring on my eStamp proposal and you'll find spamm gets eliminated and direct e-mail marketers will have a way to guaranty delivery.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    By Lisa M. Bowman
    Staff Writer, CNET
    April 4, 2003, 10:55 AM PT

    Call it the case of the hijacked haiku.
    Antispam company
    Habeas is suing bulk e-mailers, accusing them of using its poetry without permission in an unusual use of trademark law to clamp down on spammers.

    Habeas, headed by lawyer and antispam activist Anne P. Mitchell, puts a new twist on spam prevention by inserting some trademarked haiku lines into the header of an e-mail. The haiku is supposed to indicate to spam filters that the accompanying message is not spam in an effort to make sure that legitimate messages get through to recipients. Habeas' haikus are recognized by the antispam filters and technology of companies including Spam Assassin, AOL and Juno.

    When it launched last August, Habeas promised to closely track how its haikus were used and threatened to sue those who ran afoul of its trademarks and copyrights.

    This week, Habeas followed through on those threats, filing two suits in federal court in San Jose, Calif., accusing some Internet marketers of trademark violation and breach of contract.

    "The only reason to put our mark in the e-mail is to make sure it gets past spam filters," Mitchell said. "If someone uses our trademark without permission, we are required to go after them."

    One suit names financial services marketing company Intermark Media and its affiliate Avalend, claiming the companies included the Habeas mark it their e-mails to ensure the messages got through. The other suit names Dale Heller and some companies that advertised in Heller's e-mail, alleging they broke a contract by attaching the Habeas mark to spam messages.

    Intermark President Mike Krongel said he hadn't seen the suit but was surprised by the allegations. "I’ve never even heard of the company," he said of Habeas. Krongel said his company rents mailing lists to send targeted advertising but claimed that he does not spam consumers. "We do not promote spam at all."

    Krongel speculated that the case may have stemmed from an incident last month when a spammer, apparently out of Germany, co-opted one of Intermark's advertisements and began an unauthorized spamming campaign with it. But he said that was only a guess and he did not know whether those spam messages contained any Habeas information.

    Heller could not be reached for comment.

    Scott Frewing, a partner with the law firm Baker & McKenzie who is representing Habeas, said it's rare to use trademark law to fight spam. "It’s definitely unique," he said.

    Spam, as anyone with an e-mail account knows, is becoming more of a menace every day. As a result, companies are getting increasingly creative in fighting it. Habeas' approach is one of the latest in an innovative string that includes pay-per-message plans, limits on outgoing messages, and a concept that forces people to donate money to charity if they want to reach a recipient.

    Sue the buggers...

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    This could be a new problem for the spammers...

    Judge Asked to Quash 'Deceptively Bland' Spam
    Thu April 17, 2003 03:01 PM ET
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday asked a federal judge to shut down an Internet spammer who it says uses "deceptively bland" subject lines to steer people to adult Web sites.
    Lawyers with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission asked for a restraining order on Brian Westby, an alleged purveyor of unwanted junk e-mail, or spam, based in St. Louis.

    The agency said Westby used unassuming subject lines such as "Did you hear the news?" to drive Internet users to a sexually explicit Web site called "Married But Lonely."

    "In some cases, consumers may have opened the e-mails in their offices, in violation of company policies," the FTC said. "In other cases, children may have been exposed to inappropriate adult-oriented material."

    Earlier this week America Online, the Internet arm of AOL Time Warner Inc. filed five separate lawsuits against more than a dozen individuals and companies that have been sending high volumes of spam to its subscribers.

    The FTC lawsuit filed on Thursday marks the first time the FTC has based a complaint on the use of deceptive subject lines, a lawyer for the FTC said.

    "It's focused on the subject line, and the subject line being a deceptive door-opener," said FTC lawyer Steven Wernikoff.

    The e-mails also used phony "from" lines, a tactic known as "spoofing" that makes it appear that the mail came from an innocent third party, the agency said.

    "As a result, thousands of undeliverable e-mails flooded back to the computer systems of these third parties, deluging their computer systems with an influx of spam that couldn't be delivered to the addressee," the FTC said.

    The e-mails contained a link to "unsubscribe" and avoid any more e-mails. However, people who tried to use the link ended up getting an error message, the agency said. Westby could not be reached for comment. His phone number in suburban St. Louis is unpublished.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Seems like my idea of forcing all e-mails to have a digital eStamp is getting some new looks. Charlie and I would be more than happy to pay for ABW's hosting, out of the proceeds from the download S/W epostage metering and recognition program, as a campaign platform. "NO ePostage = No Delivery"

    Tue April 29, 2003 03:16 PM ET
    By Andy Sullivan
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Those get-rich-quick schemes and offers for herbal Viagra crowding your e-mail inbox are not just an annoyance -- they're likely illegal as well, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

    Two out of three "spam" e-mail messages contain false information of some sort, according to an analysis of unsolicited e-mail pitches collected by the FTC.

    Of a random sample of 1,000 spam messages, 44 percent used a false return address to hide the sender's identity, or a misleading subject line such as "re: lunch tomorrow" to trick the recipient into opening it, the FTC found.

    Once opened, nearly as many of those messages contained come-ons that were likely to be false, the FTC said, basing its judgment on its experience prosecuting fraudulent business practices. A full 96 percent of spam touting business or investment opportunities such as work-at-home offers was deemed to be fraudulent.

    Altogether, 66 percent of the spam surveyed likely violated federal law through some sort of deceptive business practice, said Eileen Harrington, an associate director at the FTC.

    "Spam is a big fraud problem and one that needs an aggressive law-enforcement response," said Harrington.

    The volume of unsolicited, unwanted commercial e-mail has skyrocketed over the past two years, according to most estimates, and commercial Internet providers say they now spend millions of dollars each year fighting the problem.

    The FTC, which has used deceptive-business laws to shut down 48 spammers since 1997, hopes to determine whether additional laws are needed to fight the problem after it hosts a three-day conference on the issue starting on Wednesday, Harrington said.


    Virginia became the 27th state to enact an anti-spam law on Tuesday when Governor Mark Warner signed a bill that prohibits bulk e-mailers from hiding their return addresses or other routing information. Those caught violating the law would face a prison term of one to five years as well as fines.

    While many other state laws require commercial e-mail to carry an "ADV:" tag in the subject line, only 2 percent of the spam surveyed contained such a tag, the FTC report found.

    Congress has not yet passed a national anti-spam law, but observers say the odds are better now that direct marketers have dropped their opposition.

    One measure would require online marketers to provide legitimate return addresses and honor consumer requests to opt out. Sponsored by Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns and Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, it has drawn considerable support from the high-tech industry.

    Another proposal introduced yesterday by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, would provide a reward to Internet users who tracked down renegade spammers, while New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer on Tuesday proposed setting up a "do not spam" list, similar to the "do not call" registry set up by the FTC to keep telemarketers at bay.

    But several consumer advocates said these proposals were inadequate as they did not allow individuals to sue spammers for damages.

    "Spamming is a numbers game, and the only way to beat the spammers is to have large numbers of litigants against them," said Jason Catlett, president of Junkbusters Corp. in a conference call with reporters.

    The FTC culled the spam in its report from three sources: a database of spam forwarded by consumers; "honeypot" e-mail accounts designed to attract spam for analysis; and a sampling of spams that turned up in FTC staffers' inboxes.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

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