Posts Tagged Spam

The Twitter Distraction

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It’s been just over a year now since I’ve been using Twitter as part of my daily routine. For the initial few months I was regularly updating Twitter with some interesting and some not so interesting tweets.I would set aside at least 15 mins a day to network with people on Twitter or at least post about an article I’ve found or written.

Now however, things have changed quite drastically. I can’t remember the last time I posted a decent tweet or one at all! I know it was sometime last week and it was more of a demonstration to a client as to the power of posting a link on Twitter. Although I want to tweet, I’m increasingly finding it hard to find the time or the will to post something on Twitter. It’s not that I don’t believe in the hype surrounding Twitter, it’s more that I don’t have the time to work at networking through this medium. Sometimes it’s just easier to ring someone and ask them to go for a coffee rather than spend time looking for an opportunity to network with people you know, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.

Clearly, I’m not the only one feeling this way. In October 2009, the Irish Twitter community was devasted when it appeared that the much loved (and hated) Damien Mulley was no longer using Twitter. How could this be? they asked… One of the most respected online marketing experts in the country had simply given up on Twitter and disappeared into oblivion. It didn’t help of course when he didn’t post on his blog for weeks either. But the reality was, that this wasn’t really the case as he explains on his blog (read here). Damien brings up other things such as privacy in his post which opens up another a whole new can of worms. It’s sad to think that someone can’t just disappear for a couple of says because of their popularity on Twitter!

I read James Forbairts blog today, who too has decided to take a look at the time he spends on Twitter. He takes a more frightening reality on how much time he has “wasted” on Twitter over the past couple of years (read here). To see the amount of time he has spent on Twitter really begs the question as to how worthwhile it really is.

The biggest problem with Twitter is, like every other form of networking, it’s extremely difficult to quantify the value of the work you put into it. One thing is for definite, you will get some sort of return. The problem is you just don’t know how much of it was worth it.

It’s so easy to get distracted by Twitter – I personally use Twhirl to receive all the tweets from people I am following. Most of the time, I completely ignore the pop up messages that appear on my screen each time Twhirl collects the latest tweets for me. But every now and again something does grab my attention and I’m hooked.

Has it been worthwhile for my business – well I guess so, I have got work from it. All of us in business network so people get to know us and hopefully recommend us to someone when they encountered someone looking for our services. The more people you know, the more people are promoting your business and vice versa. Was my conversion ratio high? Not at all, the reality is I’m probably in minus figures at this stage! But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t me in the long run.

Twitter has now become more spammy than email in terms of my inbox. Most spam emails to my account are filtered out before they even reach my inbox, but the new 5 odd followers my account gets a day go straight into my inbox! Out of courtesy I check out these peoples profiles. The majority are spammers.

Does this mean Tom Doyle now thinks Twitter is dead? Not at all – it’s a new medium and I need to understand it more to enable me to get the most out of it. You need to find the right strategy for your business in order to maximise it’s capabilities. There are numerous examples of how Twitter can help a business promote themselves or “engage” with their clients. But on the flip-side – you can see how quickly people will begin to bore with it.

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Googles Socially Adjusted CAPTCHAs

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Most of us are familiar with CAPTCHAs nowadays. We probably don’t know they are commonly known as this, but I’d be fairly confident that anyone reading this blog has come across a site with a CAPTHCA prompt at some stage.

CAPTCHA is those little images with letters and numbers on them, that we must fill in when filling out an online form, to prove that we are in fact human. Most CAPTCHAs have proven quite effective in the fight against spam through email forms, but increasingly, this fight is getting harder. Already there are robots programmed to outwit these defences so the need for a new system is already upon us.

Google has taken one step closer to developing a new CAPTCHA system that it may use on its internet properties in the near future. They’ve cleverly coined this new system as “Socially Adjusted CAPTCHAs”. Sounds great doesn’t it? It sounds like we can all be involved in the growth of this clever new system. Well we can.

The system is built with what you could call an artificial intelligence. Google present images of say an aeroplane upside to a number of people and ask them to rotate the image to its correct orientation. If enough people get the image’s orientation correct, they will use this image. So in the future expect to see pictures of buildings, cars or whatever else you can think of, on their heads.

Apparently 90% of people can accurately do this on high resolution images, with a drop to 84% for thumbnail images.  Computers on the other hand can only accurately do this with a handful of images.

Although I agree that we must fight these robots and spam merchants, I can’t help but think of how difficult it’s going to be for people with activity limiations. Nowhere in the research paper do they mention accessibility and how they will tackle it. I’d love to hear feedback on how they plan to approach this. Let’s just hope they don’t have a “backdoor” for people with activity limitations.

I’d also like to see statistics on how CAPTCHA affects conversion rates and if this will make it worse or better.

For more information visit : http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/04/socially-adjusted-captchas.html

And the full paper :  http://www.richgossweiler.com/projects/rotcaptcha/rotcaptcha.pdf

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Why do people freak out over spam? Eh because no-one likes it!

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...
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I thought the answer to the question posted by Keith Shirley on his blog was quite obvious. I don’t know anyone that enjoys receiving spam. How many people do you know?

I would be one of those bloggers that regularly complain about spammers on my blog. The reason I do it is because I have a very low opinion of those businesses that do.

For me there is a clear distinction between a spam email and a service offering from a potential supplier. If an email arrives in my inbox from a business offering their services and it is clearly meant for me and not emailed to a thousand other similar businesses, I will take the time to respond. Whether it’s a simple “No Thanks” or “Yes Please”, if they have made an effort to find out who I am and what I do and what I could possibly require for my business, I will take the time to respond.

However, when I get a blanket bombed email from a lazy spammer who has sent the same apparently sincere email begging for my business to thousands of people – I don’t see why I should bother having to spend my valuable time responding to someone that was too lazy to do any sort of research.

The sooner we cut out this lazy marketing approach the better, for everyone. I won’t even bother going into statistics, we all know that we all get a lot of spam and no-one needs it.

So to Keith Shirley – we freak out because we are sick and tired of it – Mulley was right to out these lazy arrogant time wasters who for some reason think they are offering some sort of valuable service. For you to provide these time-wasters with the knowledge to get around the legal loops of the anti-spamming law is making a mockery of it all.

Why not provide people with the information and the know how to properly market  their business with email and the Internet instead? Then we all wouldn’t have to put up with spam emails.

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More spammers… Avvio on behalf of Dylan Hotel Dublin

I absolutely hate spam, I have no problem with someone emailing me personally to tell me of a product or service they provide, that could in some way be of benefit to me. I much prefer this than a phone-call from them. They have a better chance of me reading it, than taking a call.

So when I get emails about spending Christmas at Dylans Hotel in Dublin, from a so called reputable firm in the shape of Avvio, that has obviously been sent to every business in Dublin, it really annoys me.

I don’t want to know about spending Christmas in a Dublin hotel, since I spend all of my Christmas’s at home with my family in ….. DUBLIN!! I have absolutely no intention of changing this situation because of a spam email you sent me.

I also hate being included on a database of a company that I have no relationship with and then being asked to visit their website to remove me from a list that I never asked to be part of. A huge waste of my valuable time.

If you ever thought I could be a potential customer, well now it’s extremely unlikely that I will ever be a customer. Rant over….

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eircom Golden Spider Awards spamming again

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...

Another year, another Golden Spider Awards Show and another lashing of spam from the self-proclaimed “prestigious” awards.

I know last year I unsubscribed to their mailing list (not that I ever asked to be on it in the first place) but today I got not one, but two spam emails from them.

The Golden Spider Awards were fined something as small as €500 for doing exactly the same last year. We all knew then it was a joke and they’d be at it again this year… €500 is very little to pay for the amount of people they can spam. Here’s an article on it http://brightspark-consulting.com/blog/2007/12/golden-spiders-ordered-to-pay-e500-for-spamming-brightspark/

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