Saturday, February 22, 2003

Unsolicited email is the least of our worries

Most, if not all, of us receive some spam in their email. And we hate it. We curse the people who would use such an underhanded tactic in their attempt to advertise to us. Whether it be for a no-hassle loan, or for porn, or maybe even for that penis enlargement you've always wanted, spam is unwelcome, annoying, and resource-hogging. Sure, that one email in your inbox isn't that big, but think about how many mailboxes are on your mail server, and then think about how many other mail servers are out there. It truly boggles the mind.

But there is something worse still than email spam. Something even more devious, insidious, and calculating. It is...

It is companies like Internet Search Registry and their deliberate attempt to trick you into paying for a service that you really don't need. Instead of sending out email spam, which would probably be immediately deleted, they rely on order forms which look remarkably (some might say "suspiciously") like invoices such as the one on the left. The only thing that tips you off to this scheme is a small block of text in the upper right corner that states, "This statement is a solicitation and receipt of your payment will confirm annual subscription."

Not only are they soliciting this payment in an (in my opinion) unethical way, but it is an annual fee, which will be charged again and again unless they are explicitly told by the client to stop.

I can understand how an individual would not be fooled by such a ploy, but consider the corporation: Who would receive these sorts of things? Probably the accounting department, right? They probably wouldn't look twice at it. It's an invoice. Pay it. I shudder to think how many people and/or companies have been taken in by their shell game.

I haven't submitted this website to a single search engine, but it still appears on them. The "service" that this company provides is simply not useful or needed. The surreptitious way in which they try to drum up business just makes it worse.

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