June 16, 2005
For about ﬁve years, I ﬁled a lot of the spam I got with Spamcop, and used its blacklist, but last year, I was introduced to McAfee's SpamKiller product.
Initially, SpamKiller 6 did a good job, but then, they upgraded it. Features we didn't want and protested against. And regular program failures—I spent 14 hours on tech support sessions and reinstalled four or ﬁve times in a month. And what I saw as abuse by the company in the help forums. Most of this (that which wasn't censored by embarrassed technicians) is still on the record there. Eventually, I uninstalled the program for good.
Considering I had been associated with McAfee as an end user for 16 years, and have the patience of a saint, it was a sad indictment on the company. It didn’t live the brand, unless the brand represents just another technical company getting too big due to acquisitions of other products. Sadly, this seems common in the computing world.
But I wonder, now, just how good the program was. It claimed to have ﬁled reports to ISPs about spam, but since I uninstalled it, the problem appears far worse than what I would have imagined had it never come along. I became complacent, relying on software rather than ﬁling spam and getting spammers on to a blacklist.
There are so many topics I could spin off from this introduction. I could talk about why Apple is a strong brand, because it stands away from the misbehaviour of regular hard- and software companies. However, I asked some friends to burn me a CD-ROM on an OS X-equipped machine and between the three of us, and two Apple techs on the phone in New Zealand and Australia (well, we never got through to the latter and was on hold), it took 90 minutes. Just to ﬁgure out how to burn a CD-ROM (the CD icon never appeared and tech support was none the wiser).
So nuts to Apple and the ‘If you can point, you can use a Macintosh.’ I’m waiting for some chap from India or Pakistan, a latter-day Wozniak and Jobs, who will deliver on the 1984 promise by Apple that the Sculley years made them forget.
The second topic is how spammers are getting so desperate at concocting fake addresses in the hope one of them might be real. None of them are, and what idiot buys from them, anyway? They can't brand, because branding there is the consumer’s friend: if spammers branded, it would instantly mark them out to be the bad guys. Since they don’t, they can never create a relationship with their audience.
Even today, I remember the case of Linkshare. In the late 1990s, they spammed me over 20 times, after I had left the Linkshare network and demanded list removal. I even wrote two cease-and-desist letters, signed with my degrees. It was only until I notiﬁed merchants of their actions that someone ﬁnally responded. I never got an apology, but was removed from their mailing list manually by a staff member.
I can understand missing one email, or even two, but I believe I had requested removal seven times in addition to the ﬁrst one where I left the network. And I have a long memory. Sadly, anyone asking us to join an afﬁliate programme might not know of this history. The minute I see that name, even if it learned a lesson in 1999 and has changed its policies regarding spam, I switch off.
Even the most high-tech companies, who should know better because they had a clean slate in the 1990s and all this marketing knowledge to call upon, fail to beyond-brand. Even though it is such an easy thing to do. permalink
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Now I'm thinking, how long should we ban someone for? There are people out there still banning Nestlé because of the infant milk powder incidents of over 30 years ago.Post a Comment
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