The lengths spammers go to

I got an ad from Time Warner Cable in my road runner account asking me to switch to their phone service for “as low as $39.95 a month!”  Given Vonage is around a sawbuck cheaper adn Lingo is half of that price, I though it should read “as low as twice the price of everyone else!”  Unfortunately. I have a love-hate releationship with TW.  I love the RoadRunner service, but I hate that I’m buying it from them.

What I wanted to mention though was in looking at the email, I noticed it was one big graphic file (click that to see the ad).  Interested, I wonder who this company hosting the add was, I went to their home page and saw this amazing news annoucement.

To condense it a bit – since ISP’s are blocking spam via challenge-response systems that use captcha‘s to ensure the email is coming from a real person, Boomerang forwards these to presumably an army of people who read them and type them in (how would you like that job).

“The use of challenge-response systems, while relatively small today, is expected to grow. About 7% of Earthlink subscribers today use their challenge-response feature. MarketingSherpa notes that challenge-response could affect up to 10% of a marketer’s list.”

Seems fair enough – most of us don’t want spam.

“‘Our Challenge-Response Service solves an important problem for email marketers,’ said David A. Kearney, Boomerang’s CEO. ‘In today’s environment marketers are more focused than ever on maintaining the critical online relationships they have with their customers. Unfortunately, missing one of these challenges can break the communication link that is so vital to those relationships. Clients are using this new service to ensure that doesn’t happen.'”

“Missing one of these chalenges can break the communication link”?  That’s the whole point, buddy.  We don’t want the email – we want the link broken

Comments (3)

  1. steven says:

    Good grief. When are these twats going to realise that this "critical online relationship" they’re "forging" with their "customers" is one of pure, unadultered hatred? I am getting so annoyed with over 2500 spam messages a day (roughly 2460 of which are caught by my spam filter) that the death penalty sounds like a reasonable response.

    In the very rare occurence that a message gets through my filters and has a sufficiently genuine subject line and sender for me to actually open it, there has never been anything even remotely interesting in the message. Even if there was, I’d not buy anything from them simply because they are spamming me. It just makes me want to do something undescribably evil to the spammer. (At least: undescribable in language appropriate for posting on your blog).

    Perhaps I (or somebody else) should come up with an effective way to circumvent spam filters, patent it and then sue the hell out of the spammer.

  2. steven says:

    Oh, and what about phishing. Received this gem just now:

    > Your account will be suspended !

    > Dear PayPal Member,


    > We are contacting you to remind you that on 9

    > April 2005 our Account Review Team identified

    > some unusual activity in your account.

    What, they’re telling me this on April 7th? If they really have a crystal ball, they should know I’m not going to fall for this.

  3. Alex Papadimoulis says:

    A few years back, Wired magazine ran an article about how humans would become the "grunts", answering challenges, classifying images, and doing other things a computer just cannot do.

    Interesting (and saddening) to see it happening.