Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I got spammed

The other day I was having a look at this blog, and I noticed that one of the posts had a comment on it. Previous comments had been made by my sister, but after a few of those I decided I didn't want people I knew reading the stuff I put up here. And so I changed the url, and didn't let anyone know (an earlier post discusses this further).

So I was initialy pleasantly surprised by the comment. It suggested that someone had read what I'd written, and thought it worthwhile to respond. And then I read the comment, which had nothing to do with what I'd written but plenty to do with the wonderful features of some obscure make of car. It was spam.

I've deleted the said comment, as it doesn't contribute anything, and keeping it would just encourage that sort of pissantness to continue.

Spams an annoying thing that has developed on the internet. First on BBSs, then email, and later websites, forums and blogs. Soon there will probably be podcast spam. And the vast volume of it continues simply because people make money from it. Sending emails is cheap, and if only one in ten thousand end up buying something, the spammer is still getting back a lot more than they pay in sending the spam.

Given human nature and the lucrative nature of spamming, technical measures to prevent spam will never completely succeed. Now admitedly mail filters now seem to work pretty well, and my gmail inbox hasn't had a spam in quite some time, but the spam folder is pretty full. The way to stop spam is to take away their money, which is what their in it for. All spam is selling stuff, and they accept payment by credit card.

So who are the people able to shut down spam once and for all. Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express. The credit card companies. Stop letting spammers get payments by credit card, and they will shrivel up and die. If they can't make money, they'll find something else to do with their time. I've seen one propsal where credit card companies set up a few spam detecting card numbers, and let people use those to make purchases from spam they recieve. Then when the spammers try and claim the money for the sale, they know exactly who's spamming the masses and can tell them to get lost. Unfortunately, I suspect that credit card companies enjoy their share of credit card purchases from spam too much to take such drastic measures.

End post
Writing time: 17 minutes

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