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.
THIRTY-EIGHT PER CENT of Canadians don’t use all of their allotted vacation time-saving their employers $8 billion a year.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.