A Brief History Leading to Botnets It all started with a moth. In 1947, Grace Murray Hopper, a researcher at Harvard, notes a system failure and finds a moth trapped in relay panels - and there you have it, the first computer bug. Skip to 1981, the first virus (the term hadn\'t been coined virus until \'83) is released into the wild. The Elk Cloner reflected the camp spirit of the frontier days of computing in the early \'80s. It was written by 15-year-old Rich Skrenta for Apple II\'s DOS 3.3 operating system and passed along on floppy disks to his friends (as you can imagine, Skrenta went on to work in Silicon Valley and co-founded the search engine blekko). The next milestone was the coinage of the phrase computer virus; in 1983 Professor Len Adleman at Lehigh University demonstrates the concept at a seminar. Fast forward to 2008, and enter Conficker: the worm that infected so many computers that as of February 13, 2009, Microsoft is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals behind the creation and/or distribution of Conficker. Now, looking at spam and how much spam can be sent, check out this wikipedia link for a full list of the most notorious pieces of malware ever to slime their way into your system. We know around 200 billion spam emails are sent per day. Yeah, per day. So this brings the series to a close. I want you to take an active part in making malware a thing of the past. But it will only happen if you are constantly on guard. It doesn\'t take much effort, just a few simple good habits to live by. Don\'t open any attachments from people you don\'t know or open files you aren\'t expecting to receive. Do not click on any pop-ups that encourage you to download anti-malware software; reputable anti-malware companies DO NOT advertise in that manner. Keep your anti-malware programs up to date. But most importantly, DO NOT PIRATE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM; this leaves you vulnerable to a plethora of hazards that can bring your computer and your IP address to the mercy of the botnet bandits.
One of the keys to success in e-mail marketing is to reduce the number of spam complaints that you receive. Spam complaints can hurt your standing with your ISP or hosting provider, and even prevent your messages from being delivered to millions of users of popular web e-mail providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail. In spite of these potentially very significant consequences, many businesses that rely on e-mail marketing as a major part of their advertising efforts fail to understand the steps that you can take to prevent spam complaints from being submitted. The following tips will help you reduce your spam complaints: Confirmed opt-in: The best way to ensure that your subscribers want to receive mailings from you is by using a confirmed opt-in process. It requires your subscribers to confirm their subscription by replying to an e-mail before they can be added to your e-mail list. Your list only: It is no longer acceptable to purchase e-mail lists or use third-party lists. You should remove any e-mail addresses obtained from third party sources. Practice good list hygiene: Don’t get in love with your list. The quantity of email addresses in your list means little; it is the quality that counts. As a general rule, the older your list (or addresses in your list) the greater the chance that they may not be any longer interested in receiving mails from you. That said, there are no specific rules as all businesses are different. Some businesses will know that some of their best customers are their oldest customers, so the culling of all e-mail addresses obtained before a specific date may not be suitable for those businesses. Include the Unsubscribe Link: The first and most important step you can take is to include an unsubscribe link in every message. Beyond this, the unsubscribe link should be two things: obvious and painless. Customers who want your emails will ignore the link, and those who don\'t will find it easy to unsubscribe from your list, rather than hastily clicking the email as spam. Evaluate your Subject Line: Ensure that - especially when starting out - your company name is included in the subject line. You may be thinking that is not necessary, since your company name will more than likely show in the \"from\" field, however, this helps to convey professionalism. Be sure that the message in your subject line is actually conveyed in the email. No one likes to be duped, and doing so raises the chances of your e-mail being marked as spam. Familiar layout: Using a consistent e-mail template with the same colors, fonts and layout will help your subscribers to recognize your e-mail campaigns. Over time your subscribers will recognize your layout and with that familiarity they will be reminded that they have subscribed to your list. Familiar and consistent company name: Confusion and complaints can originate from subscribers being unfamiliar with your company or brand name. Consistent from address: Using a consistent ‘from’ e-mail address serves two purposes. First, using the same ‘from’ address over time is another way to ensure that your subscribers recognise your e-mails. It is best to use a from e-mail address that includes your brand or the company name that they subscribed to. Second, if different ‘from’ addresses are used it increases the chances that the subscriber’s local e-mail filter programs (spam filters) will block your e-mails. It is a good idea to ask your subscribers to add your e-mail address to their address book to ensure that your messages will get past any local filters. Frequency: A common complaint trigger is businesses sending too many e-mails to the same group of people. While a subscriber may like your products and your business, there becomes a point when your mailings become annoying when sent too often, particularly if you are sending essentially the same message over and over again. The frequency of mail-outs will depend on your business and the type of information you provide to your subscribers. By outlining the anticipated frequency in your sign-up subscription terms, your subscribers will know how often to expect your mailings. Few other tips: - do not write long email copy - go for “short and crisp”, then point to your website for more information; - don’t repeat your website URL over and over again — you are more likely to get more complaints than more sales; once or twice is usually enough; - run a spam-check on your messages before you send them out and fix any problems that it detects.