Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Headlines | XML feed | Contact | New Sites | Press Bin | Job Centre | MARKETPLACE | For Sale
Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
Bad News -- Spam Pays 21 February 2002 Edition
Previous Edition

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
A local company recently asked me whether they should use bulk email to (spam or UCE) promote their products and services.

Naturally I said "no way" -- but that wasn't the answer they wanted to hear.

I pointed out the risks and dangers associated with using spam -- at best they'd be totally ignored, at worst they could damage the reputation of their business, lose their ISP connection and waste a lot of time fending off angry complaints and threats from the anti-spam brigade.

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to talk them out of it -- they decided that the benefits might just be worth the risks.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Responding to spam... - Nik
  • Shell Shocked... - Steve
  • Spamming... - Paul
  • Talking of Spam... - Sam
  • Spamming... - Peter
  • Reading of Spam... - Simon
  • Please tell me the name... - Tom
  • Have Your Say

    Now, since there was no way I could stop this folly, I decided to see just what would happen when they sent out several thousand unsolicited emails to mainly .nz addresses.

    The results of their spam-run were related to me with some glee by the company's managing director.

    • 33% of the emails bounced
    • 66% of the emails were read (a small embedded graphic "web-bug" was used to monitor this).
    • 3% visited the spammer's website
    • 1.6% responded to the "unsubscribe" option
    • 1% generated automated responses ("I'm on holiday" etc)
    • 0.1% purchased a product or service
    What does this tell us?

    Well, most amazing to me was the fact that only one person actually kicked up a fuss about receiving the spam. What makes this even more incredible is that the targets for this spam-run were likely to be quite IT/Net aware individuals.

    Based on these figures, can we assume therefore that the public has come to accept spam as just another part of life on the Net?

    I sure hope not.

    There are probably several reasons that the company concerned got away with this spam-run:

    • The targeting was fairly good. The company had trawled the Web for email addresses at companies which were a pretty good fit with the products and services they were promoting. Unfortunately this was done quite some time ago -- which probably explains the high number of bounces.
    • The offer wasn't another "get rich quick" scam like those which fill our mailboxes every day promising us immense wealth without effort. It was a "newsletter" that offered some useful information along with the sales pitch.
    • The email came from what is considered to be a bona-fide company which was probably known to many of the recipients.
    However, here I am with egg all over my face.

    They spammed and the sky didn't fall.

    For the investment of just a bit of time and daring they racked up several hundred dollars worth of sales and expect that, with the new clients they now have, this will represent several thousand dollars during the course of the next 12 months.

    Does this mean that I think spam is acceptable now?

    No way!

    This company was exceedingly lucky and perhaps the combination of targeting, having a good product, and bundling useful information meant that it didn't quite rate as spam in many people's minds -- but from where I stand it was still: email, unsolicited, and commercial (ie: spam!)

    Goodness knows I already receive far too many "newsletters" that spammers have decided it would be in my interest to receive. If I want their stinking "newsletter" then I'll subscribe -- otherwise, don't bother me with your spam!

    I really had to think hard about publishing these figures because the last thing I want to do is have a bunch of morons thinking that, just because one company got away with it, they can too.

    The bad news is that, so long as people keep responding to spam by buying a spammer's products and services, the spam will keep coming.

    It's Still Free -- So Pay Up!
    Note: If you can't afford a donation, please check out The Aardvark Marketplace and visit the advertisers instead.

    Every month, Aardvark scores over half a million hits, at least 150K page views and delivers more than 6GB of data to visitors.

    All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your browser with minimal delays.

    I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.

    If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.

    Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and hand over your loot.

    Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
    Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or page?

    Just add a couple of lines of JavaScript to your pages and you can get a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated each and every week-day.

    Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using the RSS format. More details can be found here.

    Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and have any problems.

    Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

    Security Alerts
    MS server bugs open the door to hackers (ZDNet - 12/02/2002)

    IE bug allows full MSN Messenger hijack (TheRegister - 9/02/2002)

    Mac Office vulnerable, Microsoft warns (AAP - 07/02/2002)

    BlackIce Firewalls Vulnerable To DOS Attack NewsBytes - 6/02/2002)

    MIRC Chat Users Vulnerable To New Attack (NewsBytes - 4/02/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    German worm makes PCs kaput (The Reg - 20/02/2002)

    New MSN Messenger Worm (NewsBytes - 14/02/2002)

    Klez worm reborn as nastier version (ZDNet - 13/02/2002)

    Bookmark This Page Now!


    NZL Sites
    NZ Netguide
    NZ Herald Tech
    PC World NZ
    NZOOM Technology WordWorx

    AUS Sites
    Fairfax IT
    Australian IT
    AFR Tech
    AUS Netguide
    NineMSN Tech
    APC Magazine

    USA Sites
    CNNfn Tech
    Yahoo Tech
    ZDNet Tech
    USA Today Tech
    7am.com SciTech

    UK Sites
    The Register
    BBC SciTech


    The Day's Top News
    Open in New Window = open in new window
    New Zealand

    Open in New Window Telecom's profit set for probe
    Telecom's accounting practices have become the subject of a Securities Commission inquiry, but analysts put the attention down to post-Enron nervousness...
    NZ Herald

    Open in New Window Telecom upgrades 12 exchanges
    Telecom is upgrading 12 exchanges around New Zealand to make them capable of offering its fast Internet access product, JetStream...


    Open in New Window Supreme Court To Hear Internet Copyright Challenge
    A New Hampshire man's challenge to the federal copyright law is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And if Eric Eldred of East Derry is victorious, the nation's recording companies, book publishers, and movie studios could lose control of vast libraries of intellectual property worth billions of dollars...

    Open in New Window 'Penetrate and patch' e-business security is grim
    Application security flaws introduced early in the design life cycle are giving rise to easily exploitable defects that can readily be prevented...
    The Register

    Open in New Window AltaVista cans Web mail service
    AltaVista is pulling the plug on its free Web-based email service at the end of March...
    The Register

    Open in New Window Europe Offers Patent Proposal
    The United States probably won't like the European Commission's new proposal to legislate software patents, a commission member admits...

    Open in New Window Beefed-Up Global Surveillance?
    In closed-door meetings, European nations are drafting additions to an international cybercrime treaty to address intercepting electronic communications linked to terrorism...


    Open in New Window Opposition's spam attack
    The Federal Opposition has lashed out at the government's latest initiative to reduce spam, claiming it has come too late...

    Open in New Window BSAA defends court action tactics
    The Business Software Association of Australia has defended its efforts to stamp out pirated software use, following a ZDNet Australia reader describing the approach as using intimidation tactics...


    Open in New Window MVQ streaming may blow away MPEG-4
    Finnish developer Oplayo has been demonstrating a compression technology at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes which, says the company, is up to ten times faster for delivering audio and video to mobile devices than MPEG-4...

    Open in New Window Be stings Microsoft with lawsuit
    Operating system maker Be on Tuesday said it has filed a federal lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging the software giant's anti-competitive practices stunted the growth of the Be operating system...

    Open in New Window Digital music deadline expires
    The world's major recording labels and Napster are yet to settle their long-running copyright infringement case despite the passing of a federal judge's deadline...

    Open in New Window States Claim Microsoft Abusing Settlement Terms
    The nine non-settling states in the Microsoft antitrust case reportedly told a federal judge they have evidence that the software giant already has abused the terms of its proposed settlement in recent contracts with PC makers...

    Open in New Window Anti-Telemarketers Send Out A Very Busy Signal
    The phone calls that pushed Diana Mey too far came four years ago from telemarketers selling Sears house siding. Repeatedly ignoring her requests that they stop calling, they brazenly broke federal laws and even claimed the laws didn't apply to them...

    Looking For More News or Information?

    Search WWW Search Aardvark

    Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, republication rights available on request

    jet engine page