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All(dis)Advantage(ed) 5 February 2001 Edition
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When AllAdvantage.com came out with the crazy idea of paying people to view ads while they surfed the web, even the most optimistic commentators were skeptical.

Even though the web was awash with advertising dollars from all those over-financed dot-coms (soon to become dot-bombs), the whole model on which AllAdvantage was based seemed real looney-tunes territory.

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However, there are always plenty of people looking for a free lunch, so they rapidly signed up millions of Web-surfers who believed the dream -- and some even got paid -- at least once or twice.

It didn't take long before cracks started appearing in AllAdvantage's incredulous offer though.

First-up, because you could earn second or third-level commissions on other people's surfing time, thousands of members chose to spam newsgroups and use bulk email in an effort to recruit new users of the service. This did not endear AllAdvantage to those on the receiving end of these annoying solicitations.

And then, as it became apparent that the model wasn't going to fly, AllAdvantage decided to change the rules -- seemingly on an almost daily basis.

To stem the bleeding, they cut the hourly pay-out rate and maximum payable hours until, near the end, it really wasn't worth the hassle of joining up -- no matter how desperate you were.

They also introduced a set of very strict rules -- infringement of any of these rules would see any credit you'd earned magically disappear. Some users claimed that their entitlements were wiped out simply because they were (incorrectly) suspected of having infringed the rules.

But -- there was clearly no way to turn a cyber-sow's ear in to a silk purse and, on Friday, AllAdvantage axed its paid surfing programme. All that's left of this not-so-bright idea is a single page that explains why you're out of luck.

Hmmm... with all these free lunches drying up, one can't help but wonder whether we're soon going to start seeing the growth of pay-for-use websites and services as businesses frantically try to generate revenues to appease investors.

That Book Of Mine
I've been going over the final proof of my new book and I believe it's nearly ready for release.

I must apologise to those who offered to do the graphics -- I've been so busy with other projects that the book has been forced onto the back-burner for quite some time now. However, I will be contacting you if you're still interested.

Given the changes in the industry over the past 10 months, I think the book will give some interesting perspectives on how so many people got so much wrong and how there is still huge potential in the Internet as an industry, a marketplace and a vehicle for business.

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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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