KC News

E-mail Marketing and Spam

This is the summary of a lecture I recently gave to a local group of small business owners about email marketing and spam.

E-mail Marketing and Spam
by Alex Kahl, Kahl Consultants


What is Spam?
Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages.

* e-mail spam
* instant messaging spam,
* newsgroup spam,
* Web search engine spam,
* blog spam,
* mobile phone messaging spam,
* junk fax transmissions.

How much?
Kahl Consultants receives approx. 10,000 spams per day (but only has to read abut 10-20)
Bill Gates receives 4 million spams per year
In 2001: spam accounted for 5% of all e-mail .
In 2007: 95-98% of all E-mail is spam
Spam costs businesses over US$20 billion per year - lost productivity, additional equipment, software, and manpower

Why Spam?
E-mail is extremely cheap. Spamming can be very profitable even at extremely low response rates.

Who Spams?
28% USA
5% South Korea, 5% China, 5% Russia
80% of US spam is generated by a group of 200 hardcore professional spam gangs

How is spam sent out?
Most ISPs do NOT allow spam. So spammers conceal the origins of their spam by sending it through insecure servers belonging to unwilling third parties. These "zombie networks" of infected PCs span the globe

How do spammers get my e-mail address?
* E-mail addresses posted on Web sites in plain HTML (unobscured) attract the most spam as they are harvested by spambots
* Basic e-mail addresses (short names, initials like bob@ or tse@, basic combinations like larryt@ receive more spam
* "brute force" or "dictionary attacks" (e-mail is sent to common surnames and first initials)

Fighting Spam
Best solution: an "Antispam Cocktail" (a mix of strategies)

* Remove or obscure address from public websites
* Use multiple e-mail addresses; create a free email account (aka disposable e-mail address)
for use when registering with websites (recommendation: Gmail)
* DNS-based blackhole lists (lists of IP addresses of known spammers, open relays, zombie spammers etc)
* Don't respond to spam from unknown companies
* Don't buy from a company that spams. Don't visit their website, don't ask for more information
* Disable HTML in email software
* Switch from Outlook to another email software (recommendation: Mozilla Thunderbird)
* Set up multiple levels of spam filtration
* Contact your ISP and ask for help setting up a spam filter
* Use spam filtering in your email client (* Spam filters detect spam based on the content of the e-mail)

Kahl Consultants and Spam
* Strict no-spam policy
* Hosting clients caught spamming are terminated
* 2 levels of spam filtration on our website servers (blacklists and SpamAssassin)
* Request our clients to help fight spam

Kahl Consultants and Email Marketing
* We support our clients in all forms of online marketing (web and email)
* Email marketing cheaper than website marketing, both are best done synergetically
* We practice double opt-in email marketing
* We set up and monitor email campaigns (e.g. constantcontact.com)

Great sites for Music Listeners

OK here is a quick introduction to some very cool websites that will let you listen to music online - each has it's own incredible features so have fun exploring!

Pandora is your personal online radio station (or you can call it an internet jukebox) that only plays musics according to your taste. You tell it what song or band you like, they choose the tunes to match your preference. Then you help it along by voting what you like and don't like. Works great. "Social radio" at it's finest... so far!

Another personal online radio station cum jukebox - you choose the music you like by cool categories such as: genre, mood, decade, popularity, and danceability!

Online radio - choose by music category.

Super simple: you pick the exact song you want to hear (from a huge selection) and then you listen and enjoy!

Simple to use "social radio" - choose a station (a pre-mixed selection of artists), or artist - and you are ready to enjoy!

Listen for free to any song you like. Create playlists and rate songs. Share your faves. Repeat as often as you like or until the boss catches you procrastinating!

Listen to cool new bands. You can even legally download free music from signed and unsigned artists. Free signup required.

You still here? Not enough online fun with music yet? OK wise guy, try this list of links from Technology Magazine!

Free Online File Conversion Tool

There are many FREE online tools for file conversion. They easiliy let you convert hundreds of file formats!

Say you can't read a file someone emailed you. You just might be able to use such a website to read it. 

There is no installation needed, and they convert the file within seconds.

The next time you need to convert a TIFF to a JPG or a XLS to a PDF and so forth, try it out!

Media Converter




You Convert it


Media Convert





Mozilla Firefox Extension: Tab Preview

Here is a must have extension for Mozilla Firefox users:

Tab Preview is an extension for Firefox 1.5 that shows a preview of tab contents when you move your mouse over a background tab. It's simple to use, but surprisingly useful.