OPLIN 4Cast #327: Sending bacn

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

baconThis week, we had to make a choice. Should we do a sagacious blog post about computing based on quantum mechanics? Or should we write about bacn? Guess which one we chose. But don’t be misled into thinking we’re going to blog about food (finally!) and can’t spell. Bacn is the name that was coined in 2007 for the stuff in email inboxes that’s halfway between spam (“fake ham”) and personal email (“real ham”), and is now so prevalent as to be a nuisance. It’s email people requested once upon a time, for one reason or another, that has now become annoying. If your library sends out newsletters by email – as we send the 4cast to some librarians – you might need to be careful about becoming a nuisance and ending up in the “junk” folder.

  • ‘Graymail’: How it will affect your email program (ClickZ/Mike Hotz) “Unlike spam, a ‘bacn’ email is one recipients actually requested, such as Facebook and Twitter notifications, Google News updates, and Groupon daily deals. However, those recipients no longer read those emails regularly. Maybe they don’t think the content is interesting, or they no longer use the products or services advertised, or the sending frequency is too high.”
  • Why your inbox fills with bacn instead of spam (BBC News/Mark Ward) “The tools used to stop spam get in the way of stopping these messages precisely because they occupy that hard-to-define space between real junk and real messages. On the one hand, they are legitimate because people have signed up to receive them, they come from reputable web domains and have the same syntax as real messages. However, they are also slightly spammy because they arrive so regularly and some of their language resembles the hyperbole employed by most junk mail.”
  • Bacn is the new spam (Glider Blog/Herwig Konings) “For every $1 invested in email marketing, $40 in sales are returned. That is double the return on search or display ads, and triple the return of social […]. This golden goose tactic of email marketing for retailers is now turning into an annoyance for consumers. What is a person to do when they want to stay in touch with multiple retailers and commercial email senders? Many are saying simply unsubscribe and your inbox will be clutter free! I respectfully disagree. Commercial senders are still important to consumers and they still want to see these messages when they have time.”
  • It’s a thin line between spam and bacn (Inbound Evangelist/Dan Moyle) “Now, don’t be afraid to email the people in your database often. Research shows that people don’t unsubscribe until they’re getting email in the ridiculous range. I’m talking once a day if all they want is a newsletter, or every hour when they’re expecting a daily email. Make sure you set the expectations and follow them. If you say you’ll email weekly, don’t switch to daily.”

Infographic fact:
Yes, there is an infographic about bacn, which points out that in 2010 (the most recent statistics we could find), over 27 billion bacn emails were sent each day.

OPLIN 4Cast #116: Google is at it again, IE8, Mozilla news, Who gets spam?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

1.  Google is really showing off some productivity this week, the highlight being their new open-source browser, Chrome.

2. Slashdot notes that “Internet Explorer 8 has been released for public beta.  New features include accelerators, which provide instant context menu access for a number of common tasks; automatic crash recovery, which prevents a single page’s failures from taking down your entire browser; and browser privacy…it’s a definite improvement over previous versions, and brings a lot to the table.”

3. Mozilla developers have been playing around with JavaScript performance. The result is TraceMonkey, which appears to improve Firefox performance. It should show up in version 3.1 of the browser. Also, try playing with Ubiquity, a new prototype which is the natural-language, command-based shell for Firefox.

4. I just saw a warning about ASCII spam, and that got me wondering…Why do some people get more spam than others?  It’s all in a name…

OPLIN 4Cast #101: Ban Second Life? Backscatter, Spam is 30, Xobni

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

1. Virtual worlds in the hot seat
As reported in the 4Cast last week, there are 100+ youth-oriented virtual worlds in existence. With that kind of availability comes vulnerability. One Congressman wants to stop children from accessing these sites in schools and libraries. Below are the links to Congressman Kirk’s (IL) statements and the recent congressional hearings on virtual communities.

2. Now there’s a term for it – “backscattered”.
You open your in-box and you see LOTS of bounced or “return to sender” type messages, so you open one to see what could have possibly come back to you. The thing is, you didn’t send out any pharmaceutical ads, or lottery announcements, or Louis Vuitton ads, or other such spam. Unfortunately, people will use random valid e-mail addresses (sometimes even a librarian’s!) to send out their spam and when their messages reach invalid addresses, it gets bounced to you.

3. Happy birthday, spam!
Spammers love it, users hate it, poetry is written with it, and it’s 30 years old.

4. Xobni
From our Twitter feed…Xobni, or spelled backward, Inbox, is a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 running on Windows XP/Vista. Basically, it indexes all of your e-mail messages in a more user-friendly way. What’s really cool about it? Xobni Analytics. You can view some really interesting statistics on your e-mail usage, such as what time of day you receive the most mail and who contacts you the most often.