Is this the end of spam?

February 9, 2006
By

The news that Yahoo and AOL plan to charge a fee for guaranteed delivery of e-mails could be the answer to my prayers.

I am pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that my inbox is at present being swamped by an increasingly bizarre array of spam.

I’ve been getting offers for herbal Viagra, lotions and potions to increase the size of my package, psychic readings, pre-approved loans, horny co-eds and more.

My inbox has a far more exciting life than I do.

Hopefully, the Yahoo-AOL plan will be the beginning of the end for spammers. If not, I’d like to suggest a new reality television programme idea for that clever young Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor and The Apprentice.

Picture the scene: A line-up of pimply-faced geeks hunkered down behind their computer screens (LCDs, of course).

Each week they must get their spam through the defences of unsuspecting net-users, bypassing their victim’s spam filters and common sense. At the end of each episode, the spam contender with the lowest success rate is eliminated, zapped with a faulty USB connection until their pocket protector melts. I’d pay to watch that.

Still on the subject of spam, German car-maker BMW has been blacklisted by Google for using what are known as black hat optimisation techniques.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is big business and many website owners or developers try to boost their rankings with search behemoth Google by using somewhat naughty, illicit techniques.

These techniques can include keyword stuffing (placing hidden, random text on a webpage to raise the keyword density or ratio of keywords to other words on the page) or invisible text.

In the case of BMW, the site used doorway pages to boost rankings.

Google uses a page ranking system, the intricacies of which are a huge mystery to all.

Don’t believe any SEO firm that claims to know how to get around Google’s systems — 99 percent of the time it can’t be done and even if your SEO guru does manage to find a way to beat the system, it’s only a matter of time before you get caught out.

And when you get caught, it’s your site that will be blacklisted, not the SEO firm.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike tricky things — I just don’t like tricky things that end up in tears before bedtime.

Puzzles are a whole different kettle of fish. Are you part of the 98 percent?

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