Friday, August 22, 2003

And so email will eventually become unusable - and so we only subscribe to RSS...

While I hate to say it, I'm starting to agree with this article.

I'm a big believer in email newsletters and in sharing my email address with people who are interested in contacting me, but as these viruses and continuous SPAM are proving, it's getting to a point where many computer users may simply stop using this stuff and go back to other means.

If you bought a computer today, thinking it would bring you into the new world and give you all kinds of great new features and ability to search online, and communicate with friends, imagine the surprise when 95% of your emails are all either viruses or SPAM. Is a computer on the Internet still that much more productive?

Based on this idea, it really seems that the best strategy for notifying customers of new updates and articles of interest will be through RSS or hybrid type tools (like the VFP Task Pane's support for FoxCentral.net). Email newsletters are going to easily be confused with SPAM so what's the point in sending them out?

One of the companies I am involved with routinely sends out notices to customers, telling them of new features and seminars. We hit about 45% of our customers because many of them have SPAM filters that prevent them from going out.

Is 45% better than nothing? Yes - but it's not better than picking up the phone and telling them to their faces.

However, until MS and other companies start providing built-in RSS Aggregators in the operating system, there will be no way of getting real valuable information to users.

I am directing this primarily for end-users. Developers and power users will always find ways of doing this but new users won't.

At the risk of making a political statement, viruses and spam are akin to cyber-terrorism that threaten the rest of the world's ability to work successfully on a computer. My uncle made a comment the other day - "it seems the only people who are truly free are the terrorists" - but in the cyber world, I would doubt that even the spammers and virus creators are free from their own handiwork.

Clearly this needs a solution and none of the major vendors appear to be stepping up to the plate with a heavy bat.

Web Technology / Sobig.f proves why focusing on commercial spam is a mistake - Tech Update - ZDNet

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