The war on spam and viruses
: Fred Wilson says here and here that the spam crisis is essentially over, meaning that technology has reduced its impact and pain to a minimum. I think he’s right about that. But as I said in a comment over there, there are always new fronts in this war. The latest I’ve seen:
A spam virus right now is spoofing email addresses and is sending me spam apparently from my address to my address. Of course, it’s not really from me; they merely spoof the address.
But here’s the problem: I’ve just been blacklisted from sending email to AOL because of complaints about spam coming — apparently, but not really — from my address.
Now the truth is that AOL is just doorknob-dumb about this. They should recognize that many users — including many on AOL — are the victims of this spoofing and spamming, not the perps.
Nonetheless, spammers are now using my own address against me.
The real irony is that I use AOL Communicator because it has good spam controls. And so every time I kill one of these virus spams I am, in essence, reporting my own (apparent) address as a spammer. I’m blacklisting myself.
Blacklists don’t work. Consumer complaints about addresses are obviously fallible. I agree that the situation is improved thanks to technology. But spam is email terrorism and the f’ers will find new ways to attack constantly. The war isn’t quite over, I fear.
: UPDATE: Rafat Ali adds this impassioned and painful rant on the topic in another comment over at Fred’s place:
Sure, you think the war’s over…meanwhile, I lie dead in its wake…my e-mail, which is very public as a result of my website and my newsletter, is blocked out by everyone these days, it seems. My e-mails are not getting through to people, and these include my invoice e-mails, which are a part of my livelihood.
So while you at your end are smug in the knowledge that you’ve browbeaten spam into submission, techniques like Jeff mentioned above are killing my livelihood, one filter a day…