Ah, the rural life. Critters, events, opinions and trivia.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Can spam drive you crazy?

I have come to the conclusion that spam can drive you crazy. Not the Spam in a can, spam that arrives un-invited in our electronic communications sources. My ISP has "spam blocker" software, but even with that software in place, I get at least 50 pieces of spam in my email every day -- the software does block hundreds of items daily. Then, my home phone and cell phone, which are both registered on the "do not call" list are regular targets for spamming.

It appears there are loopholes in the "do not call" registry, including the exemption of: companies that you have previously done business with; non-profit solicitation; political campaign information; calls that are initiated from outside of the US, and more.

I have a friend who once ordered prescription drugs from a company online. He now gets at least 10 calls a day on his cell phone and that's with call blocking in place. There appears to be no way to get these callers to stop. This causes him to rant daily about his phone and email spam, and I realized that spam has driven him crazy -- of course, he did have a good head start in that direction.

I regularly receive phone calls for "surveys" and multiple automated robot political campaign calls. I finally contacted the political websites of these callers and told them if they don't stop calling me, I will never vote for them. Thank goodness election day is just around the corner.

The thing that puzzles me is why on earth do the originators of the email spam messages think they are effective? Everyone attempts to block them. Do they really generate business from these messages? The spam ads I get for loans, investment opportunities, prescription drugs and porn sites are sent in massive numbers with the exact same message from multiple senders every day. Do these advertisers really think this is an effective method of delivering their message? I would go out of my way to avoid supporting these businesses.

The spam that drives me crazy are the "phishing" efforts that look like legitimate email from sites that I have a relationship with. I worry that I will actually delete an important message when mistaking it for spam. Someday, my ebay account, or paypal account or bank account, or ISP account, may be suspended because I have missed a legitimate message.

In the "olden days" where spam arrived in the mailbox, I found an effective way to get removed from the solicitors' lists -- when they included a postage paid envelope or postcard for return business, I would glue it to a brick, or some other heavy object, so they would have to pay the postage due when they received the item.

So, in the future, if you see news coverage of some lunatic(s) who have gone on a rampage against spammers, don't be surprised. Their defence can be that the spam drove them crazy....

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