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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Spam and bombs

25 August 2006

Do you have The One Card, a loyalty card that allows you to rack up points and savings at Foodtown and Woolworths supermarkets?

If so, and if you included an email address when you signed up then prepare for a deluge of spam.

Yes, even though (as reported by one Aardvark reader, the application clearly stated that "we will not share your email address with anyone, it is solely for informing you of specials of benefit to you", the company now admits that they're "renting" addresses on the list to others for the purpose of email marketing (that's spamming by the way).

And they're using some of the sneaky tricks that spammers love to employ too.

According to this story (which was in yesterday's news links), the company is clearly using embedded graphics to determine how much of their spam was actually read.

But of course none of this matters in the minds of those doing the spamming. Indeed, the NZ Herald article quotes loyalty programme manager Bridget Lamont as crowing "it costs us a fraction of traditional a direct marketing campaign."

Well that's nice for them -- but not so nice for those others who, it would appear, have been tricked into having their email addresses added to a "for hire" spamming database.

OurRegion - Manawatu
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Let me be quite clear -- I'm not against opt-in email marketing.

When a company makes it quite clear that your email address will receive *their* own marketing information that's one thing. Subsequently hiring out that address to others is something totally different and is not at all acceptable -- at least not to me.

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And in other news...

I was most impressed with Stuff this week when they published a story involving pornography without a single mention of the internet. I'd have linked to that story but their lame attitude to searching for or accessing stories more than a few days old means that I can now find no trace of it.

I'm not so impressed with this story however.

Gosh, so kids are experimenting with bottles of petrol and other forms of bombs. Well that's news -- not!

Hell, go back 40 years to when I was a kid and you'd have found me out the back of the shed with my own molotov cocktails -- plus pipe bombs loaded with black powder, CO2 bombs made from baking soda and vinegar, plus a raft of other DIY destructive devices. And I wasn't the only one.

Nothing's changed -- kids will always experiment with this stuff -- yet enough of us survived childhood to continue the species didn't we?

But here's the kicker, the story goes on to say: Mr Coleman says children can get bomb-making instructions online and warns parents to supervise internet use".

For goodness sakes -- kids can also get bomb making instructions from the local library. They can get them from friends at school. They can swap recipes over the phone. They can write away for bomb-making manuals that come through the mail.

Where are all the warnings against these sources of such material???

Yes, once again the Net cops it in the neck for being a bomb-maker's paradise.

Perhaps what the paper should say is that parents need take more interest in their kids activities -- full stop.

SO what do you think?

Have Progressive Enterprises tricked customers into signing up to a for-rent spam database? Have you gotten any spam as a result of your One Card membership?

Is the phenomenon of kids making bombs really that new? Is the Net to blame? Should parents simply be more involved in the activities of their kids in the first place?

Have your say on this...

Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines


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