There are those 'Internet Product Marketing Entrepreneurs' (spammers) who decide to try and hook you, but don't actually think it through.
Over the years, increasingly, I have had a lot of people complain to me about the level of spam in their in box. That's good - they recognize that it *is* spam and are having nothing to do with it. However, the increasing complexity of the spam and, more importantly, increasingly targeted spam makes its identification harder to distinguish legit marketing from spam marketing.
One of the methods to try and get you to part with information, is to target the spam to the recipient - much like businesses are doing now with marketing.
The concept here is simple. Why spend millions on ad campaigns when spending less and sending less to a more receptive and appropriate group will give higher returns? Basically, a company (say, a company that sells gourmet bread, baked with caviar, at 1,200 per loaf) that is unlikely to get sales from a specific market demographic (say, 18-30 year old males, on income assistance), will buy marketing data and then target mailings to their demographic (say, 45-60 in specific high-value postal code areas). That way, they get to the people that are more likely to buy, without wasting money mailing to the people who are unlikely. Granted they may lose one or two buyers in the other demographic, but that is the price they pay.
The same is happening with spam. Spam is becoming more and more customized to target the recipient. Now, this doesn't happen down the the level of the recipient in the same way the legit companies do - but it is getting to the right category.How does this start
Many ways. Remember that survey you did from that website? you know, the one that promised an Xbox to everyone who completed it? What about that 'free information report' on how much your co-workers were earning?
Different tactics, are to use your emotions against you. "Click to see a video of this poor orphan scavenging for food..." or if you use Facebook, you will have seen posts and 'likes' of other pages and posts - some of them being either malicious or information trauling.
A perfect example, is this one
, identified by Sophos and shown on Graham Clueys blog
. It is a Facebook scam that is designed to get you to click on the link to view a shocking image that was embedded in ToyStory 3.
As the message appears to have been posted by one of your Facebook friends, you may well be curious to see what it is that he or she is pointing to, and click on the link.
Clicking on the link, however, takes you to a page which insists that you "Like" the page before showing you the "sick hidden message" from the blockbuster Pixar movie.
The point of getting you to 'like' the page is to perpetuate the message, and get more people hooked.
The motive for this scam, which already appears to have recruited hundreds of thousands of fans, is to direct unsuspecting users to an online survey (which you are told is compulsory if you wish to view the Toy Story 3 content).
So what happens if you go through this survey, and part with all the information that they ask for?
Im not sure for certain, but I seriously doubt that Pixar would have such a 'risque' scene in TS3 that hasnt been picked up by other media outlets. As for your information that you have parted with? well there's no way to retract it and if you actually entered *real* information, depending on what you gave them, who knows.
The Real Silly Spammers
There is targeted and then there is bulk mailing that is trying to be targeted, but misses the mark. Then there are those that miss it in such a way, that it is really funny.
Take for example, this person who is trying to solicit business for increasing web-site rankings in Google. (although this sounds legit, bulk mailing is not usually a good practice for soliciting business and is most likely a spammer trying to get info or *will* promote your business... through more spam.)This
was posted (again on Graham Clueys Blog
) over at Sophos. For the non-techs, Sophos is a company that specializes in Anti-Virus, Anti-Mal-ware and other security products.
To save you navigating to the link - Graham received an email, from an 'internet marketer', advising him that his company (Sophos) was not ranking in Google when people searched for the word 'Perfume'. Go Figure!Dont Click That Link
In many cases, if its too good to be true, then it probably is. Dont click that link! Spammers need only a fraction of a percent to click their links and earn them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.And Finally...
This fantastic comic from DorkTower
, depicts the difference between the thinking of you (and I) vs. the Spammers.