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Current Topic: Spam

RE: Apres Spam
Topic: Spam 7:15 am EDT, Oct  3, 2003

Jeremy wrote:
] A main complaint of email users is that they have to
] waste time every day deleting spam messages from the
] servers on which they lease their little online garden plots
] -- but such deleting is only necessary because the industry
] has its head screwed on backwards.

Yes, this makes sense. Disk space should be available infinitely, particularly in a work context. Old email is very useful data at work. This is worth the expense.

On the other hand, I never get spam at work. I haven't gotten spam at work in years. I dunno if thats because I change jobs too often, or because my work email never gets used in a context where it can become available to spammers, or because if it did, someone would set up filters.

I get spam at home. At home I don't always have infinite disk space, and old email does not seem nearly as useful. But its not so much the cleaning up disk space thats the concern. The concern is that when you have 25 - 50 spams per legitimate email, its often easy to not SEE the emails that matter. The concern is that you don't always want to reply to everything you've gotten in your inbox, but if you leave it will get buried. The problem isn't that you have to delete a couple emails. The problem is that your email account becomes unusable, "spammed out." And as your email account IS your identity on the internet, you've got to change your identity. Once that new identity is established, the spam will start to trickle in again, and over the course of a few years the process repeats itself. Its like you are permanently in the witness protection program to avoid aggressive marketing. Thats why it pisses me off. I really don't feel the same way about paper spam. Its just not as annoying, mostly because its never forced me to move.

RE: Apres Spam

Call Center Execs on Do Not Call List!
Topic: Spam 5:14 pm EDT, Oct  1, 2003

] The home telephone numbers of 11 top executives of the
] Direct Marketing Association -- which has waged a bitter
] court battle to kill a proposed federal no-call list --
] are on the new federal registry, making them off-limits
] to those annoying early evening sales calls.

In addition to everything else this article says about the issue, it also points out the privacy problems with the list. :)

Call Center Execs on Do Not Call List!

Call Centers Struggle in Face of Do-Not-Call Rules
Topic: Spam 11:17 am EDT, Sep 22, 2003

] As they gathered here for their annual convention, those
] who sell mortgage services, credit cards and corrugated
] roofing over the phone say that if they do not change the
] way they do business immediately, they may follow
] door-to-door salesmen into commercial extinction.

This story does seem to indicate that the do not call list is going to work. No, I don't have any sympathy for the industry's troubles. The timing sucks. In a bad economy we are spilling a bunch of unskilled labor on the market. They will have trouble finding work. But, on the other hand, thats why this should have been done years ago, before things got to this point. 104 million calls a day?? How many households are there in the United States? Thats got to be around one call per day per household!

Get off my phone, get out of my email inbox. I have never ever ever bought your products. You are not wanted here.

Call Centers Struggle in Face of Do-Not-Call Rules

The end of the open internet...
Topic: Spam 11:15 pm EDT, Aug 28, 2003

] So, between spam, anti-spam blacklists, rogue packets,
] never-forgetting search engines, viruses, old machines,
] bad regulatory bodies, and bad implementations, I fear
] that the open Internet is going to die sooner than I
] would have expected. In its place I expect to see a more
] fragmented network - one in which only "approved"
] end-to-end communications will be permitted.

I happen to think this is true. Who is doing the approval is the question. The fact is that if anyone can decide how things are approved, then everything is fine. I cut my whack account over to a challenge response system. Bang, its useable again. I get no spam there at all, and all the people I talk to are getting through just fine. I'm happy. I think it will work just fine... In fact, if the internet had more close knit communities I think it would be better off.

Moving to the country side to escape the noise is not the same as censorship.

The end of the open internet...

Wired News: Swollen Orders Show Spam's Allure
Topic: Spam 4:58 pm EDT, Aug  6, 2003

] MANCHESTER, New Hampshire -- A security flaw at a website
] operated by the purveyors of penis-enlargement pills has
] provided the world with a depressing answer to the
] question: Who in their right mind would buy something
] from a spammer?

Wired News: Swollen Orders Show Spam's Allure

Spam Filtering
Topic: Spam 9:44 am EDT, Jul 20, 2003

I thought I would post and see what people's experience has been with various spam filtering tools. A few comments:

1. I see spam as a law enforcement problem. The VAST majority of the spam I receive contains forged headers and is being relayed through systems without permission. If the government simply enforced the laws it already has, it could prosecute these people for computer fraud. This would eliminate most of the problem that I see. The reason that I get all this spam is because the government won't enforce their laws. (Although they are happy enough to raid internet "bong" dealers. Gosh I'm glad to be safe from them.)

2. I have one email address that is basically useless because of spam. For every legitimate email I receive there, I get 30 or more spams. My other email address is rapidly approaching this state.

3. The basic requirement for a spam filtering solution that I have is no false positives. I can deal with deleting some spam. Its not THAT big of a deal. If I could delete LESS spam, and still get all of my legitimate email, I think I'd be alright.

4. I don't trust RBL based solutions. RBLs block legitimate mail. Lots of it. I'm interested in blocking SPAM, not people who are using SMTP relay. This effort to lock down SMTP has been going on for years, and the amount of spam has not been reduced.

5. My only experience with "AI" like filters has been the spam filter in MacOSX. It doesn't work. It ids spam as legit. More importantly, it regularily IDs legit email as spam. I'm not sure how it measures up with other filters. If I put more effort into training it, it might get better, but I could never TRUST that if I turned it on it would never block legitimate email.

6. This morning I was considering implementing Challenge Response for all of my email. This sounds like an effective solution. Unfortunately, its not. The problem is that there are a number of bots out there, mostly related to ecommerce sites, that I probably do need to see email from. I can try to list them in my whitelist, but I risk missing something.

7. It occurs to me that what might work better then these solutions is something that relies on a network. If 100 people get the same email, its probably spam. This, I imagine, is what yahoo is doing. I think I've heard of systems that allow large numbers of people to coordinate to filter spam, but I don't recall what it is.

What systems are you using? How effective are they?

Politech: Direct Marketing Association's very narrow view of what spam is
Topic: Spam 9:39 pm EDT, Jul 14, 2003

] "Spam is essentially email that misrepresents an offer or
] misrepresents the originator, or in some way attempts to
] confuse or defraud people... The reality is that, in
] spite of all the trouble that email is causing, Americans
] and people all over the world in fact a lot of people do
] respond to email offers, and they often respond to offers
] for things they didn't even know existed, from people
] they didn't know existed."

Welcome to the Spam topic. Yet another extremely overdue task on my todo list.

Politech: Direct Marketing Association's very narrow view of what spam is

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