Category Archives: Marketing

John Quarterman on Mapping Spam and Politics (audio)

At a meeting on a completely different subject, I was interviewed about Here's the audio, and here's the blurb they supplied:

John S. Quarterman, long time Internet denizen, wrote one of the seminal books about networking prior to the commercialization of the Internet. He co-founded the first Internet consulting firm in Texas (TIC) in 1986, and co-founded one of the first ISPs in Austin (Zilker Internet Park, since sold to Jump Point). He was a founder of TISPA, the Texas ISP Association. Quarterman was born and raised in Lowndes County, where he married his wife Gretchen. They live on the same land where he grew up, and participate in local community and government.

Quarterman took some time during Georgia River Network's Weekend for Rivers to speak with the Nonprofit Snapshot about spam-mapping and small town politics.

More about Elinor Ostrom's Nobel-prize-winning work on organizing the commons, and how that applies to

The water organization has since been incorporated as the Georgia non-profit WWALS Watershed Coalition:

WWALS is an advocacy organization working for watershed conservation of the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems watershed in south Georgia and north Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen advocacy.


eCrime Summit in Prague 25-27 April 2012

These ecrime meetings are always interesting and useful. -jsq

Press release of 29 March:

Containing the Global Cybercrime Threat is Focus of Counter eCrime Operations Summit (CeCOS VI) in Prague, April 25-27

CeCOS VI, in Prague, Czech Republic, to focus on harmonizing operational issues, cybercrime data exchange, and industrial policies to strengthen and unify the global counter-ecrime effort.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—The 6th annual Counter eCrime Operations Summit (CeCOS VI) will convene in Prague, Czech Republic, April 25-27, 2012, as the APWG gathers global leaders from the financial services, technology, government, law enforcement, communications sectors, and research centers to define common goals and harmonize resources to strengthen the global counter-cybercrime effort.

CeCOS VI Prague will review the development of response systems and resources available to counter-cybercrime managers and forensic professionals from around the world.

Specific goals of this high-level, multi-national conference are to identify common forensic needs, in terms of the data, tools, and communications protocols required to harmonize cybercrime response across borders and between private sector financial and industrial sector responders and public sector policy professionals and law enforcement.

Key presentations will include:

Continue reading

Massive effects of reputational rankings on law schools

Law schools game weak reputation rankings, which could be fixed, if the law schools, the bar association, or the ranking organization wanted to. If anyone doubts that reputational rankings can have massive effects on ranked organizations, read this.

David Segal wrote in the NYTimes 30 April 2011, Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win:

How hard could a 3.0 be? Really hard, it turned out. That might have been obvious if Golden Gate published a statistic that law schools are loath to share: the number of first-year students who lose their merit scholarships. That figure is not in the literature sent to prospective Golden Gate students or on its Web site.

Why would a school offer more scholarships than it planned to renew?

The short answer is this: to build the best class that money can buy, and with it, prestige. But these grant programs often succeed at the expense of students, who in many cases figure out the perils of the merit scholarship game far too late.

What makes law school rankings so easy to game? Continue reading

Confusopoly, or Scott Adams, Prophet of Finance

While sitting in a small room perusing a book from the bottom of the stack, The Dilbert Future, I idly looked again at Scott Adam’s prediction #2:
In the future, all barriers to entry will go away and companies will be forced to form what I call “confusopolies”.

Confusopoly: A group of companies with similar products who intentionally confuse customers instead of competing on price.

OK, good snark. But look at the list of industries he identified as already being confusopolies:
  • Telephone service.
  • Insurance.
  • Mortgage loans.
  • Banking.
  • Financial servvces.
Telephone companies of course since then have gone to great lengths to try to nuke net neutrality.

And the other four are the source of the currrent economic meltdown, precisely because they sold products that customers couldn’t understand. Worse, they didn’t even understand them!

It gets better. What industry does he predict will become a confusopoly next? Electricity! And this was in 1998, before Enron engineered confusing California into an electricity-price budget crisis.

For risk management, perhaps it’s worth considering that simply selling something the customer can understand can rank way up there. Certainly for the customer’s risk. And given how much the FIRE companies drank their own Kool-Aid, apparently it’s good risk management for the company itself. Especially given that the Internet now gives the customer more capability to find out what’s going on behind a confusopoly and more ability to vote with their feet.

To actually make a product the customer wants, and then provide good customer service: how old-fashioned! And how less risky and more profitable in the long term.

Loopholes Closed by FTC in CAN-SPAM Act Rules

The U.S. FTC has updated its regulations regarding the CAN-SPAM Act (PDF) to require:
(1) an e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender;

(2) the definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements;

(3) a “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address”; and

(4) a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

FTC Approves New Rule Provision Under The CAN-SPAM Act, Press Release, FTC, May 12, 2008

These changes appear to tighten up what is required of marketers; they have to say who they are and they can’t weasel out by claiming a corporation is not a person.

However, it’s not clear to me why it’s opt-out that’s required; why not opt-in? I never trust a spammer to process an opt-out; I assume they’re just collecting more addresses. Plus the spammer still has ten days to process opt-out requests.


Bot Buyin

Pickers.jpg Bruce, seeing that the Storm Worm has sprouted stock tout popups on its own bots:
(((I’m guessing the next step is to contact Storm bot victims directly and ask them to join the Storm Network voluntarily. AFter all, if you obeyed that Storm spam pop-up, you cashed in; and this would be a valuable opportunity to become a foot-soldier in the biggest online organized=crime outfit ever.)))

Storm Worm spams its own bots, By Bruce Sterling, Beyond the Beyond, November 15, 2007 | 11:34:00 AM

Having proved that it can infect much of the Internet and the alleged security professionals can do nothing about it, Storm now bids to get its victims to join it?



I’ve often wondered if this was happening:
A ROW IS BREWING between a bunch of bloggers who took cash from Microsoft marketing outfit and stodgy old media types who take their bribes in less obvious ways.

The row started on Friday when the ValleyWag revealed how some “star boggers” had taken some cash from Federated Media to repeat some Microsoft sloganeering in copy on their websites.

Michael Arrington tells all how his Techcrunch site became “people-ready”. Gigaom’s Om Malik talks about when a business becomes “people ready”. Others named and shamed include Paul Kedrosky and Matt Marshall of Venture Beat, as well as Fred Wilson, the blogger-investor. Ads with the Volish motto appear on the blogger’s site.

Boggers embroiled in Volish bribery kerfuffle, Old media lecture the new, By Nick Farrell, The Inquirer, Monday 25 June 2007, 14:02

Well, wonder no more.