Making the Most of the Internet - Blog


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Do Spammers Ever Give Up?


We've just gone through Christmas and the number of messages from spammers has continued unabated.

Perhaps the odd thing was that I had a large number of Barclays messages on Christmas and Boxing Day. Some were very amateurish and targeted at Woolwich, a Barclays subsidiary, customers.

Typically they are registered to someone in the US. Take which is registered to Leesa Christensen with an e-mail address of

Why do the US authorities allow domain names to be registered to someone who uses an anonymous e-mail address? Probably for the same reason they champion the death penalty!

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dell Computer Installation


I used to recommend Dell computers highly in that their systems, delivery and support were all you could want.

However, I've just installed a new machine for Celia and getting it to perform well has been a nightmare. The computer was loaded with a whole load of junk that I would never buy.

For instance, there was a program called the Dell Network Analyser, which all it seemed to do was chew up 99% of the CPU. Once I'd deleted this piece of junk, the machine ran a lot better.

There was also the garbage from AOL, which no-one serious ever uses. Norton Host was something I didn't want to.

I just wish they wouldn't add all this unnecessary software when they sell a machine. It would be so easy to write a small software downloader, that gave you the choice of what Dell recommended products you needed to add.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Instant Reward From the Co-Operative Bank


I have had 100 copies of this scam.

Have you ever heard of free rewards from a bank? Although I did get a very good offer from the Daily Telegraph to fill in a form to get a £10 voucher from John Lewis. It worked to!

Instant Reward

But the amateurishness of this scam gives criminals a bad name.

You would have to be truly stupid to fall for this one, as the link isn't even activated.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Athens Financial to Impex


The graph below shows how a set of crooks have swapped from promoting one crooked company, Athens Financial Group, to another, Ipmex Consulting, over a few days.

When one bent company has been rumbled they switch to another.

Athens to Impex - Click for large

Bank Phishing scams are shown in red, the Athens Financial scams in green and Impex in blue.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Euro VIP Casino


This is a typical net casino.

I have just received sixty-five emails from them this afternoon. As with most of the spam I get it was all to e-mail addresses that I never use. Except to collect spam!

So for a start it was a waste of time to send all those messages!

If you look at the registration for the domain,, you will see that it is registered in Tonga and the phone number for the registration starts with a country code of 7. Isn't that Russia?

So although they give you a signing on bonus of four hundred euros, I'd choose a much better-known name, if you want to do any on-line gambling. On second thoughts, I'd go down your local casino, racecourse, dog-track or betting shop. At least you see real people and know what they're doing.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Website Accessibility


There's actually more to this than you think. It's not just making sure that your web site is easily accessed, by the special software used by the visually impaired. for isntance, you should document images and avoid complicated Java.

I'm sixty next year and need glasses to read the screen, as do many people. But often your glasses are not as strong as they need to be to read some web sites. Dare I say it, but some because vanity don't wear the glasses they should!

So make sure that the text isn't too small.

I suspect that one of the problems is that most web designers are young and don't appreciate the problems of older and disabled users.

As an aside to this, my wife has several different shampoos and conditioners. When I run out of my shampoo, I then have to decipher which of hers are shampoo. Several times, I've tried to wash my hair in conditioner, as none seem to have large labels saying what they are!

So it's not just a web problem.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Confirm Messages


Many web sites send you a confirm message, which you have to action to get registered at a site. Many site owners complain that about seventy percent of registrants never finish the process.

This is not a problem to me, as I don't run that sort of site.

Perhaps the solution to confirm messages is not necessarily solved by computer technology, but by some good business sense.

Let's say that everybody who registers on your site is worth say $100 in orders in a year. In a normal business, you would probably be prepared to pay say 5-10 per cent on sales promotion, either in the form of adverts or a mail shot. So why not offer a discount of the first order, when someone registers or put their name into a free draw with either a cash price or free product.

A version of this technique was used by Waitrose to get their on-line shopping going here in the UK. They just gave out vouchers off a first on-line order in their supermarkets. Also the on-line bookmakers and betting exchanges here, also give you a free bet to start with.

So don't forget good old-fashioned business solutions!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Impex Consulting - Yet Another Scam


Another scam has started on the lines of Athens, Israeli, Swiss and Austrian.

This time it's called Impex Consulting and guess what! It's based on a Chinese web site.

Update - Athens scams have virtually stops and been replaced with the same number of Impex.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Affordable Web Site


Let's say you are starting a small business and want a web site. I'll assume you're providing some sort of goods and services locally, rather than be a company or individual who wants to sell lots of things on-line.

Your business could be something like a solicitors, a cafe or restaurant, a plumbers or any of the other small businesses that we all need and have tremendous difficulty in finding to suit our exact taste or requirements.

The information you put on a web site falls into one of two categories :-

  • Fixed - Your profile, location and what you basically do.
  • Variable - Special offers, new services and personnel, holiday arrangements and everything else that happens as you improve your business.

Depending on your business, the proportion of fixed and variable information is different. For instance, a solicitor or someone whose business doesn't change much, will have a higher share of fixed content. On the other hand, a restaurant will find that most content is variable and frequently changes. For example, how many restaurant web sites show a typical menu?

So why not split the fixed and the variable, with the fixed going into a traditional web site and the variable information going into a blog, that has been fully integrated into the web site.

Look at the Cambridge Law web site, which I have written as an example of how you can integrate a blog into a web site.

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Blogger's Reliability


Blogger reliability of late has not been good.

As I write this I've lost the wysiwyg editor and every time I change the template for a blog it refuses to publish.

If I wrote software as reliable as Blogger, Google and Microsoft, I doubt I'd ever make the money I have done in the past.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Athens Financial Group - Word Document


I have now added a Word document which details my thoughts on the Athems Financial Group.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Athens Financial Group


This scam illustrates the problem with the Internet.

I have received a large number of job offers to work as a Financial Controller for Athens Financial Group based in Athens. But not Athens in anywhere we know, as the web site behind the company is registered in China.

The problem is that everybody in the Internet business with any sense knows it is a scam that either launders money or relieves your bank account of all its money. Neither is a good prospect.

But until someone loses their money and complains, there is very little that can be done, as although to send these e-mails may be an offence in the EU, the US, Australia and others, it won't be an offence in the country from where they come. Even if it was an offence, I suspect that the police there wouldn't know what to do.

The spam message is also not offensive, pornographic or against anybody's sensibilities. It's just annoying and we are getting so used to spam, that we're now desensitised to it.

Look at the graph below which shows all of the spam messages that I've received in November 2006.

November Spam E-Mails - Click for large

Bank Phishing scams are shown in red, the Athens Financial scams in green and the other rubbish in blue.

I received a total of 12355 Bank Phishing scams and 10568 Athens Financial scams out of a total of 195912 spam messages. These represent six point three and five point four percent respectively. Or put another way well over ten per cent are serious financial scams!

So this one scam is responsible for one in twenty of all messages sent to me. Is it replicated around the Internet? Remember though that all spammers seem to use the same list as they appear to pass names between themselves. So as my spam estimates seem to be in line with those published by others, I don't think that the estimate that five percent of all spam in November is down to this one scam is too far from the truth.

So why does it appear that little has been done about it? The only thing you can notice is that messages halved about the tenth of November.

The other thing I looked at was what proportion of the 10568 Athens Financial scams were actually sent to valid e-mail addresses. It was only 642 or six percent.

All of the other messages were sent to e-mail addresses made up by spammers on the domains I watch. I don't think my domains are unique in being treated this way, so how many of the messages going around the Internet are to non-existent e-mail addresses? These then get blocked by the server and a return message is then sent.

So why should spammers make up e-mail addresses?

They get paid by the million, so as there are only a finite number of legitimate e-mail addresses, what better way to increase turnover than make some up. After all they are crooks anyway, so they don't really have any problems with that!

This scam illustrates the main problem with spam. No-one takes responsibility in stopping it. This one has been going on for a month, usually based on domain names registered in China.

Have the Chinese authorities done anything about it?

Pull the other one! The cash flow is probably good for business.