Spam. – Virus program kerfuffle. – Internet ethics.

A new comment on one of my blogs says, “I have read a few good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to create such a great informative website.”

At first glance, this very complementary comment might appear to be legitimate, but it’s just too vague, with no correlation whatever to the content of the post.  It’s comment spam.

The funny thing  about this particular comment spam is that it was left on a post titled “Hello World.”  The blog isn’t even active.



When I went to update our virus protection software last month, I upgraded to a product that had more protection, and didn’t think anything more about it.

Friday, I was viewing my e-mail spam folder prior to permanent deletion and found a message from Norton telling me that my virus protection software had been automatically updated – the old software that was no longer on our computers. Confused smile

Time to contact customer service.

I managed to get online and find the customer service link.  There was a note that said that the customer service online chat was the quickest way to resolve problems, which was fine with me.  I don’t care for dealing with customer service by phone and, with chat, there’s no struggling to understand the representative’s accent – and there was no way I was going to try to resolve this with e-mail.

The wait was just a few minutes and I “worked” on other things while I was waiting.  The customer service “expert,” to use Norton’s term for their representatives, was able to help in a relatively short period of time.  He did offer to apply the subscription time to our current product and refund 10% of the renewal price.  I told him,  “I would prefer the full refund instead.”

After he had processed the refund, he wrote, “I’ve noticed that you have been waiting for longer than expected. I’m sorry for this inconvenience and as a gesture of good will and to thank you for your patience, I would like to add an extra 30 days to your subscription. Is that ok with you?”  How did he know it was my birthday?

He didn’t, of course.  Funny thing, though, it was his birthday, too.


It’s unfortunate that unethical individuals and organizations try to take advantage of people through the internet.

Imagine an online world where you didn’t have to deal with spam, viruses, phishing and scams.

Unfortunately, that innocent online world only lasted a few short years.

I was subscribed to a few genealogy online mailing lists that went silent in the 90s when a guy in Atlanta selling laser printer cartridges sent one of his ads in a mass email to the lists.  At the time, the mailing lists were hosted on a server at Indiana University.  The load from that mass emailing crashed the server and, eventually, that incident forced the mailing lists to find a new home.  That was my first exposure to the impact of internet spam.

Today,  staying protected from online attack requires spam filters, a good virus protection program and a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.


How about you?  Any recent spam or virus issues?


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