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Thread: A call for a consumer boycott against spam.

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    A call for a consumer boycott against spam.

    As a business owner, the words "consumer boycott" send a shiver down my spine. But I think Anatrim deserves the treatment. Their spam campaign is simply unacceptable.

    If ever a product deserves the full wrath of the internet community, it is Anatrim. I get 6 or more spam emails about it a day. And a quick Google shows that I am not alone. This has been one of the most aggressive spam marketing campaigns ever seen to date.

    It is high time that consumers around the world send a clear message that this behaviour is simply not acceptable.
    It is time that manufacturers realise that they can and will be held accountable for the marketing methods used for promoting their products on the internet.
    It is time to serve notice on email abuse by firmly closing our wallets and putting away our credit cards.

    Let's make sure that manufacturers understand that burying us in an avalanche of spam is actually going to hurt.

    When you buy Anatrim - you are supporting spam. Please do not buy it!

    * In making this call, I hope that people will accept that there is room in this world for responsible marketing by email. But somewhere there is a line between politely introducing a product or service and letting us read or move on, and an abusive assault on our inboxes.

    * For those who are genuinely tempted to use this product - In trying to track down the source of Anatrim, I found a clear and simple message on the subject of diets and dieting at anatrim.org - without apparently promoting any diet product.
    Last edited by Dave A; 24-May-07 at 01:06 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Dave, I cannot agree more. As a professional it is a struggle each morning to sift through all the spam mail to get to what is really important. We have a spam filter on our network, but somehow the buggers still get through and don't think that if you send them a strong worded e-mail to kindly remove your name from their mailing list they would react.

    I have had the same problems before and had to change my e-mail address in order to get rid of all the spam.

    Just another point: now with the new National Credit Act (section 74) they have changed the whole retail / credit system to an opt out system. This basically means that you have to clearly indicate NOT to receive junkmail from any retailer and not have your e-mail address for example sold to any other company: so - be sure to tick the little box when asked if you do not want any junkmail or mass marketing junk sent to you.

  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I really hesitated before making that post - it could start a dangerous trend. But in this instance I don't think there can be too much debate as to whether Anatrim has crossed the line and deserves to be hammered.

    I wanted to get a sense of opinions here before I roll this out wider.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    There are some anti-spam methods you can use to make it harder for them to get your email address in the first place and then some really good filtering that will block almost all the spam.

    An easy way to prevent bots from getting your email address if you publish it on a web page is to insert the email address in ascii codes in the html code. This can be achieved by converting the email address to ascii codes using the software linked bellow. Type the email address in the the top and click the convert to ascii code buttom. Then copy and paste the code in the bottom into the html code of the page you want it added too. Note: You have to add it via the source if using editors like frontpage or dreamweaver!

    http://www.effectivehosting.co.za/dascii.exe

    The best filtering method on servers is to set up the mail server to block all emails from blacklisted email addresses. This can be quite a harsh way of doing things, but is truly the only way to block most of the spam. You can set up proper filters and everything to do the job but they have methods of sending email through to confuse the filters. Apart from that, the server will still have to use a lot of power to filter all the emails after receiving them. The method I've mentioned above bounces the emails back to the sender or to a 'blackhole', never even receiving the email or using power to save/filter it. It happens that some important emails are blocked though in some cases. Especially if the isp that the users use have issues with spammers and have spam policies that aren't strict enough. In these cases the isps have a hard time removing their ip's from the blacklists which means that emails from them can be blocked by the server, even if they're legit. I guess it's a small price to pay for not getting any spam at all!

    Tested the email thing on vb, but vb with it's auto email linking thing seems not to want to allow my ascii codes on here.

    Sorry if I seem to have ventured off the topic a bit, just thought this info might be useful for other web designers!
    Last edited by bullfrog; 24-May-07 at 08:04 PM.
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    One thing that I can commend Google on is that Gmail is incredibly amazing at filtering out spam. I think it partly has to do with the vast amount of data they have available. Bonus is that you can even move your custom domain to Gmail - searchable, spam filtering, it really is amazing.
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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    I agree with Duncan on Gmail - they have an excellent filter system!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Spam filters are one thing, but it's passive resistance. Hitting back at the worst spam offenders is another matter completely.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    I do believe that hitting back is futile if action isn't taken on a huge scale. Many have tried and failed and the most effective system to date is blacklists.

    The problem with spam is that much of it is generated by users who aren't even aware of it. Most of the users of the email accounts and servers get hacked and their accounts used to send large amounts of spam. In this sense simply reporting them to their isp's will stop the spam from that one user, but the spammer will just get another insecure server to spam from. So this method of stopping spam would be very ineffective unless the servers can be made secure along with all the other servers on the internet. Which would be impossible because users just don't care.

    It's for this reason that I believe that isp's should have very strict policies to fight spam. They should encourage their users to secure their scripts and accounts with good password etc.

    The other way being suggested in this thread is to stop supporting the products that make spam possible. To completely kill the spam email market. This as I'm sure you're aware would be extremely hard. It does start with the users of these products, who are in most cases also ignorant and won't really put in any effort to boycott these products.

    What I'm basically saying is that battling spam would require a huge amount of effort. The boycotting idea will only work if you hit the company so hard that they start seeing a noticeable decrease in sales. If you target a large company you will have a very hard time doing so. I'm really not trying to be pessimistic about the whole idea, but I truly don't believe it's going to work.

    I've never bought an item that was advertised in spam in my life and will continue doing so. Thinking about that a bit more, I've never seen a product advertised via spam on a shops shelves either.

    The question is can we really hit back and hit back hard?
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  10. #9
    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    i wonder if it would be ethical to spam the server that sent the emails? I am not one for spam, but if one should fire with fire, why not fight spam with spam? I know it might be wrong, and I would probably be roasted for such a comment, but it is just an idea. I propose filling there mailbox to the extent where they cannot handle it any more!

    A simple message: Your product blows!! * 1 000 000!

  11. #10
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
    Tested the email thing on vb, but vb with it's auto email linking thing seems not to want to allow my ascii codes on here.

    Sorry if I seem to have ventured off the topic a bit, just thought this info might be useful for other web designers!
    Actually, I think you might have pulled it off. I was fascinated.

    I hit the edit button (which I've got as an admin) to look at the source input, but the editor resolved what was now showing and wrapped the email tags. I hit cancel for the edit and left it untouched and the text email remained without the email to linking - but there are two other possibilities to account for the conversion to an email link:
    • Duncan might have got curious too, but saved unchanged instead of cancelling, or
    • One of the cron jobs that run in the background on vB ran a tidy up later on

    If I've got the idea right - you dumped ASCII directly into the text editor - which resolved to the characters but beat the email to: attribute?

    Could you try it again in the members only area? I think it is worth investigating for reasons obvious to those who understand the consequences of these things.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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