Making the Most of the Internet - Blog


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Charity Flowers


We received some flowers today. They were nice too!

They came from a web site called Charity Flowers in Guernsey, which is run by Age Concern.

I think this is a very interesting development, where a charity sets up a special business to make money.


The Changing Pattern of Spam


In two months spam and the other unwanted e-mails that I receive has increased four-fold. On the 7th June I got 866 messages and on the 16th August, I got no less than 3,678.

So where does it all come from.

Types of Spam - Click for large

The graph shows the various types of spam in order of importance; Pump and Dump, Drugs, Loans, Bank Phishing Scams, Logos, Luxury Fakes, Software and Others.

Note :-

1. Things like Pornography, Casinos, God, PayPal/eBay Scams and Fake Degrees were almost insignificant and are included in Others.

2. One of the most significant changes is that Luxury Fakes and Software scams have reduced by a considerable amount. Microsoft and others have stated in the press, that they are cracking down on this sort of scam and they seem to be effective.

3. The three biggest categories of spam are Pump and Dump Share Scams, Pharmaceutical Drugs and Home Loans. All have increased by from three to over twenty times. All are aimed at or were instigated in the United States and promote sites or companies in that country.

4. Bank Scams have also grown considerably and appear to be all the same. Could this mean they are coming from the same source? Could this site be in Russia?

5. Logo scams are a bit like boils. They erupt occasionally. It appears that this is what they have done on the 16th August.

At a time when there are worries about terrorism and crime, it beggars belief that the United States allows the three major scams to be perpetrated. Can anybody give me a sensible explanation?

The fact that both the Luxury Fakes and Software spam have dropped says very much that commercial organisations, such as Microsoft, Adobe, Rolex and Louis Vuitton, are much better at fighting spam than governments.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How To Spend a Birthday


Well not really my birthday, but the day after.

I collected every message that I received and compared them with what I received on the 7th of June. Both are Wednesdays, so the results should be creditable.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fighting Terrorism


The Internet is one of the keys to fighting terrorism.

Most people leave a footprint that can be found by Google. More intelligent programs that use the power of the search engines and other databases can distil and process the details to collect a profile of individuals and companies. In a small but very sophisticated way, I wrote a program to do just that and it was applied successfully to business databases to look for possible fraud.

The main problem with the Internet, that hinders successful searching for terrorists, and common criminals for that matter, is all of the spam for erectile dysfunction drugs, pump and dump scams and dollar mortgage loans.

Spam could be stopped if the United States in particular and Russia, China and a few other countries put their act together.

It would so be much easier to find a naked terrorist.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Keywords in Web Pages


I think putting keywords in web pages using META tags is fairly pointless as I don't think it helps with the search engines or anything else at all.

The main trouble with keywords is that they promote your view of the site and what you think your customers should be. But how many of your customers use your products in a way it was not intended? One of my products was written for a bookmaker and I have just sold several copies to the US Army in Iraq.

Often setting up the list of keywords takes a great deal of management time, as everybody argues about what should be on the list and what shouldn't. I was in one meeting which reminded me of the discussions held in the Middle Ages about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Keywords also make all of your pages appear the same to the search engines. Now if you have a variety of products, this might mean that someone looking for something you do sell, will end up on a totally unrelated and irrelevant page.

So if you do use keywords they should be relevant to the page. For instance the Contact page on the site, should only contain the keywords "XXX Company contact", if it contains any at all, as these words should be contained within the page.

I have always found that the best keyword pages are case studies, where you describe how your products are used. These are obviously linked to the actual product pages, and your home page. Again do they need keywords.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Norway Consulting Group


Looks like a new version of the Swiss or Austrian scam has started based on a company called The Norway Consulting Group. I received 58 e-mails this morning offering me a part-time job transferring money to their clients.

I wouldn't bother as the domain you have to click is based in China.

If you are annoyed and have noting better to do, send them by post to your local Chinese embassy.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Phishing Explosion


For the last few days there has been an explosion of bank phishing e-mails.

I have been receiving about ten times more than I normally do. They were aimed at customers of Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and NatWest. All seemed to be of a similar format and pointed at the same web sites in Russia.

But then at 15:00 on the 1st August, they all stopped.

I hope this was due to actions by the banks and the police.

A note is now available for downloading and distribution which gives full details.

Phishing Explosion

Feel free to read and distribute as you require.

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Internet ID


This won't work unless everybody worldwide has one.

The system is also so complicated, no-one would bother to get one.

What will work is proper education and parents and children using the Internet as a shared experience.