BACK TALK

Tech

Maybe spam isn’t so bad

LEAH BOWNESS August 30 2004
BACK TALK

Tech

Maybe spam isn’t so bad

LEAH BOWNESS August 30 2004

Tech

Maybe spam isn’t so bad

Thanks to new filtering technologies, the deluge of unwanted email, known as spam, has become more manageable. But tech experts warn of a new menacing foe, spimunsolicited advertising sent via Internet chat programs. Unlike spam, spim targets instant-messaging portals, causing junk ads to automatically pop up on your desktop, cellphone or other wireless devices— taking digital advertising to a new level of intrusiveness. According to the Radicati Group Inc., a Calif.-based research firm, 1.2 billion spim messages will circulate this year compared to 400 million in 2003.

A spim-demic could be dangerous for

productivity, says Christina Cavanagh, author of Managing Your E-mail: Thinking Outside the Inbox. “The interruption values,” she says, “are huge.” Network security is also an issue, since messages—often masked as missives from someone on your contact list-may contain damaging viruses. But spim control seems within reach. Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft Corp. and America Online Inc. are tracking and shutting down spim-sending accounts. And last week, San Diego, Calif.-based Singlefin unveiled the world’s first managed instant-messaging filter to protect businesses-sending spim doctors a message.

LEAH BOWNESS

THIRTY-EIGHT PER CENT of Canadians don’t use all of their allotted vacation time-saving their employers $8 billion a year.