Making the Most of the Internet - Blog


Monday, February 26, 2007

What is a Domain Name Worth


We breed and sell racehorses.

Domain names are very similar. Some are worthless, some will get different valuations from different experts and others will sell for several times your valuation.

So as with anything in life, establish a minimum price that you will accept for the domain and be prepared to transfer it, if someone gets above that limit. Bite their hand off if you think they are overpaying.

What makes a high price for a domain is really only common sense. Is it memorable? Is it a virgin and unsullied by spam? Has it been used before? Is it likely to be subject to a legal challenge? For instance, if you had registered many years ago before anybody else had thought of that as a product name, you'd probably be alright, but if you'd done it when after you'd heard of the name, then you wouldn't be.

I would also set up your own page for every page you are selling, stating what it has been used for.

At present I'm selling and I've set that up as a Google Ad. I'll let everybody know if that works. Or doesn't.

Spam An Awful Lot


Look at the graph below which shows all of the spam messages that I received on four days; June 7th (blue), August 16th (red), November 3rd (cream) and February 24th (light blue), 2007.

Spam E-Mails - Click for large

The first group shows the so-called Pump and Dump scams and note how in a few short months it has increased significantly.

In fact nearly 23% of the e-mails on the 24th were promoting one stock called Goldmark Industries. The scams on this stock have been going on for months, so I can't really see why this is happening. Unless of course someone wants to warn everyone off a good company, so they can acquire it for a song.

But then what do I know about stockbroking?

The second group are the Viagra sellers. They haven't really grown since November, with the overall increase in spam being more or less covered by the increase in Pump and Dump.

The interesting group is the third one of Bank Scams. Except for Fifth Third Bank in the US, this group has dropped to a dribble and lets hope it stays that way.

But is this down to the fact that the scammers have screwed all of the suckers and those on-line customers left are aware to the problems, rather than any positive action from the banks?

The Others group at the right, contains all of the other frauds, casinos and other junk, that is small compared to the first two groups. Again it doesn't seem to have increased much since November despite a large increase in Casino promotions.

But again note that the two major sources of spam are US-based or aimed at Americans. Well all the drug prices are in dollars and they're all US-listed stocks. Perhaps only two percent of the spam is NOT in this category.

So let's hope that the next US President does something to stop this spam. After all unless he or she does, I shall continue my ban on buying US products where there is an alternative. I won't shop at ASDA either.




We just had to replace the extension tube on our Dyson vacuum cleaner.

I bought the spare on-line with no fuss at all.

I wish the buying of all spares was this easy.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vehicle Excise Duty


I've just renewed the Vehicle Excise Duty on Celia's car in two minutes on-line.

Bang goes another job for the Post Office.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Forcing Someone To Read An E-Mail


This post was in response to someone, who wanted to force his addressees to read an e-mail announcing his conference.

Never, never, never force someone to read an e-mail.

I would do this.

1. Create a very simple e-mail, that is a concise message, that says where, when and what the conference is about. The only graphic might be a small picture or cartoon in the e-mail.

2. Have a link in the e-mail to the web site that describes the conference in detail.

3. Have a link to a printable poster, so they can advertise your conference in college.

4. I would also have a link, in which they can register their interest, so that you get the details right. Perhaps, you could have a draw for a small prize.

Then lastly, I'd send another e-mail a week later, with a humorous tone saying that you are sorry to intrude, but we're just checking that you heard about the conference.

But if you force a possible client, they'll go away.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Week of Royal VIP Casino Spam


I'm getting so fed up with this one, that I decided to analyse it all fully.

I searched the whole weeks spam and came up with revised totals for the week.

Sunday - 224
Monday - 337
Tuesday - 291
Wednesday - 0
Thursday - 105
Friday - 362
Saturday - 802

Total - 2121

I had a total 48530 messages spam messages in the week, so this Casino Group sent me just over 4.37% of all the rubbish I got.

Of these messages only 261 are actually addressed to valid e-mail addresses. So only 12 percent of messages are valid and the other 88 percent probably would get bounced, thus adding to the spam.

Is that intended by the spammers to create a pile of shit in which to hide real messages?

So who is sending out all of this rubbish?

The web site has an Antiguan phone number as it starts with 1-268. The first flag on the site is Russian and is that because the domain names used are all registered in that country.


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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Royal VIP Casino in Antigua


Antigua is a nice place, but I won't be going, as the Royal VIP Casino or Royal Euro Casino is turning out to be one of the biggest polluters of the Internet with masses and masses of spam.

The casino may be perfectly legal in Antigua, but it is a pain in the arse.

If you take the last few days I've received the following numbers of e-mails inviting me to hand over my hard-earned money.

Saturday 10th February - 94
Sunday 11th February - 224
Monday 12th February - 337
Tuesday 13th February - 290
Wednesday 14th February - 0
Thursday 15th February - 105
Friday 16th February - 240

Did they forget to send them on Wednesday?

Update - On the 17th February I got 545 of the wretched things or a total of 1741 for Sunday to Saturday. This was just over 3.5% of the total number of spam messages I received in the week.

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Where is the Next Scam?


The Radius scam was down to 16 on Thursday and 14 on Friday, so at least it seems to be ending.

But where is the next scam coming from?


Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Spam Than Ever


The level of spam has risen again, after dropping for a bit over Christmas and into the New Year.

For instance on Monday I got 8,300 messages, as the number broke the 8,000 barrier for the first time. Typically when I started the number of messages was between two and three thousand.

And what are governments doing.

Nothing at all.


Radius Group Revisited


I'm still getting the same level of scams for Radius Group.

Now what is interesting about this case is that the company is a real one, that has been ripped off by crooks.

At least the web site appears to have been taken down, which reduces the scams from dangerous to just an annoyance.

But the e-mails still keep coming.


Goodbye Norden, Hello FIC


Just as Athens changed to Impex and then to Radius, all of the Norden scams have now disappeared and been replaced by FIC.

It happens very seamlessly and professionally.

But it doesn't alter the fact that they are all fraudulent scams.

Norden to FIC - Click for large

The graphs shows the replacement of Impex to Radius and Norden to FIC.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Web Designers and Updating


This is my reply to a forum in which the owner said the following.

"His site could also have failed because he hired a designer. That was a problem because he never learned how to run his sites. A site that would be viable with a domain like this requires constant changes and maintenance."

Web designers on the whole do not know your business as well as you do and of course they design something that is complicated to update, so that they get the repeat business.

I would also add, that the more a site changes with valid material, the more likely it will be found by searches, as there are just that many more words available for hits. So you have a virtuous circle, in that the more you add to the site, the higher it will go up the search engines.

But adding large amounts of content with a designer doing it at arms length is a very expensive process.

So whether you like it or not, successful sites will be updated by someone who knows the business. And that person will work in house.

This is one of the reasons why I like to use blogs for news pages. Updating can be shared out and large amounts of copy can be quickly added to the site by Internet virgins. The designers job here, now becomes one of reading and editing the information and transferring the important bits to the real site.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Radius Group


This is a cautionary tale that every company should know how to handle.

There is a perfectly legitimate company called Radius Investments LLC in Santa Barbara, California.

They have two web sites at :-

Which are related. I have looked at them on the internet and the company seems very reputable, in that are a typical locallly based American real estate company.

For the last few months, I've been getting a whole series of spam e-mails from a company called Impex. They are one of these advance fee fraud people, who mention Western Union and getting ten percent for just transferring money. On Monday, I noticed that the Impex frauds were declining and they stopped yesterday. Usually when one of these stops, it means that it's run it's course and they will be starting another.

So I searched all the spam I was getting and found that another one had been started based on a web site at :-

This web site has been cloned from the legitimate Radius Investments and takes these sort of frauds to a new level, in that it has no spelling mistakes, has been put together in a professional way and all the people in it are legitimate. It gives a Tokyo address, although the site was registered on the 20th January this year in New Jersey. The street address given seems to be legitimate.

Needless to say it is certainly spam, as it contains the usual rubbish to fool spam filters and a graphic.

I have e-mailed Radius Group and they have put a private investigator on the case.

Now to me this is serious fraud and it could have serious consequences for the company, if they do not handle it properly.

If it happened to my company, I would come clean and bring in the media and show what a good company we are and show up the fraudsters for what they are. After all how many opportunities do you get to get on National TV and Radio?

Not many! And as they say "all publicity is good publicity".

The original author was Brendan Behan, but he really said "All publicity is good publicity except your own obituary".


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The End of Impex


It would appear that the Impex scam seems to have stopped. Or at least I'm not getting any more e-mails. I shall be looking out for the next one, as when one of these stops another starts.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Prison Service


One of my ads today was advertising jobs in the Prison Service.

I wonder how successful that is.




We're building a new set of stables and offices here at the moment and we have lots of old curved bricks and roof timbers to get rid of.

So I put them on the Cambridge Freecycle site.

Quite a few of the bricks and wood has gone.

So if you want to get rid of something look up your local Freecycle Group on the Internet.

I also have been chatting to an interesting artist called Syrah Jade, who will be taking some of the offerings this Sunday.

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