Yesterday, I received some pretty convincing spam posing as notification that I had received an online greeting card from someone named Lili. When I tried to view it, a series of porno pop-ups appeared that eventually crashed my browser. I was fooled! It is spammmm! This is the first time I have received spam in the form of a greeting card. Because people are more likely to open this kind of email, don’t be surprised if most of the spam you start receiving looks like this. I have a feeling that this sort of spam can spell the death of the free greeting card business.
Two other things related to spam. First, spam that is rendered as html usually contains script that can alert the spammer whether you have opened the mail or not. So then, even opening up spam confirms for your spammeister that your email is valid. If you just open spam email, the spammers have won.
Second, a lot of spam come from open relays in Asia, and network administrators are now blocking up mail from China domains. It’s an irony that people in the US may be filtering out China’s email, instead of the other way around. Eventually the Chinese government will crack down, but right now many Western companies are using Chinese email servers to send spam.
Another thing I learned. Do you know google can now index MS Word documents and PDF? I have my Word resume on a website, and that contains private information like telephone numbers and addresses. If I enter my phone number in google, I get these search results. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=512-834-4646. That’s good in some ways, but I imagine it would be fairly easy for a spam demon to write robots to gather such personal information. (BTW, with google, you can use a robot.txt to exclude your website from the search). So be careful about what DOC or PDF’s you put on any publicly available websites!
Here’s an essay about the “Open Courseware Project” at MIT. Actually, University of Texas’ World Lecture Hall does something similar.
A scary article about SLAPP lawsuits and online bulletin boards. You remember SLAPP lawsuits. That’s what the Texas beef industry used to see Oprah. UT has a great libel checklist in case you were wondering whether to expose a scandal. Here’s some info about SLAPP lawsuits.
Here’s an excellent list of web site test tools.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a good piece about bloggers.
A business professor writes about his attempt to try to teach an online class.