Fighting Spam: An Alternative Approach

Our Best Weapon for Fighting Spam? Whitelists

In the bigger picture, Banister's Bonded Sender idea is validation of the notion that whitelists could play an increasingly important role on smacking down spam. But in order for whitelists to reliably extend their utility to the rest of us (and not just companies that can afford to put up thousands of dollars in bond money), we'll need established methodologies and techniques that don't reproduce the kind of problems caused by blacklists--ones that don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

In this ZDNet article, David Berlind contends that certifying "good" email rather then eliminating "bad" email is the best solution for fighting spam. Read the article and you decide.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 8-02    

Measuring Viral Advertising

Buzz, word of mouth, viral, guerilla. Call it what you will but it is all really the same thing and it has been around to a long time. It has been proven to be the most trusted form of marketing and advertising. Who are you going to trust more, an ad or a recommendation from a friend? But for marketers, determining what effect word of mouth plays a marketing program is elusive.

Until now. David Godes and Dina Mayzlin put out a study on this very topic.

The study is not new. In fact, it was published last spring. But, it is just now receiving notice. The point these two make is that the effectiveness of buzz should not be based on pure volume (number of mentions) but on dispersion (how and where that message travels). Is talk of the new Apple ibooks within Apple discussion groups all that important? Or is the same discussion within PC based discussion groups more important? It is the latter, Godes and Mayzlin contend. The important metric is how fast and far the message is dispersing. Not how much the message is being discussed.

Read more on this topic in the Boston Globe and in the HBS Working Knowledge newsletter.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 8-02    

Online Ad Spammer Gets His Own Medicine

Now here's a guy who really doesn't know what irony is. We are harrasing him? What the hell does he think he is doing to us? Get a clue, dude.

MIKE WENDLAND: Internet Spammer Can't Take What He Dishes Out

West Bloomfield bulk e-mailer Alan Ralsky, who just may be the world's biggest sender of Internet spam, is getting a taste of his own medicine.

It's all the result of a well-organized campaign by the anti-spam community, and Ralsky doesn't find it funny.

"They've signed me up for every advertising campaign and mailing list there is," he told me. "These people are out of their minds. They're harassing me."


by Steve Hall    Dec- 8-02    

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