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A Good Idea Ruined By Spamming 31 January 2001 Edition
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Entrepreneurs all around the globe are eagerly seeking that most elusive of cyber-beasts: the profitable business model.

Well one local bright-spark, Karl Mottram, has implemented a website that has some merit -- but then he's gone and totally screwed any potential it might have by thumbing his nose at the very people he needs to make it a success: the Internet community.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

In reply... - Karl

Crap digital photography... - Andrew

one4b... - Jamie

Today's Issue... - Don

Recreational Drug Use... - Tripz

Re: Mr Mottram... - Peter

"Hits"... - Jonathan

one4b,cannabis,beer,etc... - Hank

Gov't Anti-Trust... - Rob

Have Your Say

In short -- I believe we have another cowboy in our midst.

The site concerned is hardly the cutting edge in web design or graphics (although the developer seems to tout those skills -- along with the usual cowboy speciality: digital photography.)

Then there are the "sign of the cowboy" nonsensical claims such as "We are averaging over ONE THOUSAND HITS A DAY!"

Hmm... let's see: the front page has 12 elements and we can assume that most visitors probably click on the "Free Competitions" link (another 8 elements) then on to the "Competitions" page (about 25 unique elements) -- that's 45 hits per visitor or a whole 22 unique visitors per day!

Unfortunately such runaway success hasn't stopped the site from begging for stamps to help make ends meet.

An extremely worrying aspect of the site is the way that entering one of the many trivial competitions running on the site opens you up to a potential barrage of junk email -- after all, it clearly states:

"We retain and archive any emails received, and may send you follow-up emails, including but not limited to "You Have Won" emails, notification of new competitions and bonus prizes."

Now it has to be admitted that the idea of getting advertisers to donate prizes as a lure to get people to come along and read their otherwise completely ignorable ad-copy is not a bad one. The fact that you're able to build up a list of email addresses that you can sell, trade or lease to anyone else for any other purpose also adds significant value to the model.

However, this guy needs a boot up the backside for the way he's promoted the site.

First Mistake: -- he posted spam to local newsgroups no less than ten times promoting the site and, therefore, the advertisers on it.

Second Mistake: -- when he was flamed -- for doing so, he chose to incur the wrath of Alan Brown, a man not known for tolerating spammers, idiots or buffoons.

Some of the spamming can be seen here on Deja.com and the spammer's response appears here.

Fortunately the site previously hosting the goon's site seem to be pretty smart and gave him the boot -- leaving this explanation.

It's a shame that what could have been a good idea has been scuttled by the man with the six-shooters and spurs.

Send me your comments.

Completely Unrelated
The health department has clamped down on the sale of the "dietary supplement" one4b, riding the high horse of public safety as their justification.

Like most things these days, it was available in a different form on the Web (cunningly disguised as a CD-cleaning solution) but the TV news reports that even this source has been shut down. (Note: there's some background info on this substance on the Alphaware site here.)

So let's see. It's a substance that creates a feeling of euphoria when taken in moderation but which is capable of causing illness or even death if taken in excess.

I wish someone could explain to me exactly how it differs from alcohol -- a substance which, as far as I can see, has exactly the same properties.

We're told that in recent weeks four people have now been admitted to hospital suffering ill effects from this drug. I wonder how many people were admitted to hospital suffering directly or indirectly from the effects of excessive alcohol consumption during the same period? How many were killed on the roads by drunk drivers?

Ah... but wait... could the only REAL difference be the lack of an excise tax to keep the politicians' trough full?

Yes, it appears that the agencies of the government believe we're all too stupid to be trusted with things that are dangerous -- unless (as in the case of alcohol, tobacco, petrol, etc) we're prepared to show them that we're actually smart enough to pay the stiff taxes associated with these products.

Lets face it -- drugs attract the young because they're both fun and risky-- but so are fishing, playing rugby or riding a motorcycle in heavy traffic -- yet these other activities are not forbidden by law are they -- even though they put hundreds of people in hospital with severe, sometimes fatal injuries every year.

Food for thought?

Note: my own involvement in recreational drugs is limited to a cold beer on a hot afternoon but I hate being told I can't be trusted to make sensible decisions by the people whose wages I pay with my taxes.

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Security Alerts
Multiple Vulnerabilities in BIND (CERT - 29/01/2001)

Windows Media Player 7 opens system for hackers (IDG - 18/01/2001t)

Net worm hobbles Linux servers ZDNet - 18/01/2001)

Interbase Server Contains Compiled-in Back Door Account (CERT - 10/01/2001)

AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Stacks: (CERT)

Virus Alerts
Melissa-X disguised as Mac doc (ZDNet - 22/01/2001)

Kriz virus makes return appearance (ZDNet)

Tool to beat killer Xmas virus promised (IDG)

Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

Wild Worm With Pro-Linux Message (Wired)

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Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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