Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hope for those fed up with Spam

A single commercial spam campaign can generate as many as 3 messages for every person on Earth. And it takes 12.5 million spam e-mail messages to sell $100 worth of Viagra - according to research cited by The New York Times (click) though actually published some years ago by a team of computer scientists at two University of California campuses. Apparently, it was these scientists who coined the term, “spamalytics” to describe their study or analysis of spam.

So why does all this now suddenly represent hope against spam?

Not because the scientists are pinning their hope on spammers coming to see that spam is not a very efficient or effective way to sell stuff.

But because their most recent study of nearly a billion spam messages, and commitment of several thousand dollars on purchases from spammers, reveals that there is a “choke point” that can be used to throttle spam.

That “choke point” is money.

Apparently "95 percent of the credit card transactions for the spam-advertised drugs and herbal remedies" are handled by just three financial companies — one based in Azerbaijan, one in Denmark and one in Nevis (West Indies).

Many of us have discovered that there is no technology solution that really works against spam, in spite of Bill Gates himself having assured us many years ago that technology solutions would be quickly found against spam.

We can also now be sure that there is no market solution to the problem of spam.

As in so many other matters, there are only two solutions:

1. voluntary action on the part of Visa/ Mastercard/ other credit cards companies/ financial institutions such as the ones in Azerbaijan, Denmark and St Nevis, OR

2. legislation and/or regulation.

So if you are fed up with spam:
(a) write to your credit card company asking why it does not act to choke spam, given the research;
(b) write to your MP, asking her/him to initiate suitable legislation;
(c) write to the relevant regulatory body or bodies in your country, asking them to introduce suitable regulation

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