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Businesses on the Web are "targets"
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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8 Apr 1998

Have Your Say

Local businesses on the Internet are receiving an increasing number of solicitations to buy services of questionable value.

Yesterday Aardvark spoke with Kylie Thomsen of Web Directory, an organisation in the process of creating a directory of businesses on the Internet. This directory will be published in printed form and on CDROM, possibly with quarterly updates. (Anyone wanting to see what Kylie does NOT look like can check this page).

When asked why there would be no on-line version of the directory, Ms Thomsen advised that many people who have internet access don't really know how to use a search engine or the Web.

Ms Thomsen also seemed completely unaware of the existence of other online directories such as AccessNZ which effectively duplicate the contents of the planned directory but which are far more likely to be accurate and up to date than any annual or quarterly publication.

Web Directory are using a staff of 15 telemarketers to solicit customers for their directory and, according to Ms Thomsen, are signing up about 50 listings per day. With the price of a listing ranging from $163+GST to $345.00+GST, some of the people contacting Aardvark have expressed concern over the value this represents.

It is also interesting to note that just as The Yellow Pages have acknowledged the importance of moving their existing printed directories to the Internet, Web Directory are planning to publish a directory of Net-connected organisations on pulp.

Prospective customers are advised to "shop around" before committing to any planned business directory or catalogue, particularly if the organisation concerned has no previous track record. There have been more than a few very spectacular business failures in this area.

Internet users are also advised to be careful about offering their email addresses to any directory which may be supplied on CDROM since, without sophisticated protection mechanisms, it then becomes an easy task for direct marketers to extract those addresses and use them for unsolicited mass-emailings.

Big Planet Spam Starts
As warned in the March 23 issue of Aardvark Weekly, the spamming from Big Planet fanatics has started.

Reports have been coming in from a number of Web designers and ISPs who received unsolicited commercial email, apparently from Theo Olifers and originating from an address at macdonalds.co.nz.

His email contains such phrases as:

"How would you like to make money with the internet ? and be in a position to capitalise on the wave that is about to happen with Internet Commerce ....."

and

"Please do check out the attached for your selves [sic] , it is too good to miss out on ...."

Attached to the email was a potentially virus-ridden MS Word file.

Understandably, many of those receiving the email were not impressed and any chance Big Planet may have had of making inroads here in New Zealand has been significantly reduced.


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