Realtor Strategy For Avoiding Spam And Viruses

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #66 - April 29, 2002

By: Doug Towes, Editor

About the Leaders Post

The Leaders Post is the newsletter for professionals committed
to Net Success - from, an online community of
professionals dedicated to providing excellent service to their
clients. If you prefer the online version, the current issue as
well as previous issues can be viewed by clicking
Internet Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents

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sent in it's entirety.


- A Strategy for Avoiding Spam and Viruses
- Spammers May be Using your Web Site to Send Spam
- Blast those Cookies!
- New Web Site in Orangeville
- Search Engine News - LookSmart Looks Dumb
- Tip Of The Day

Net Success

All of us who are active on the internet receive more than our
fair share of SPAM - other wise known as junk mail. We also
receive a healthy dose of virus infested emails! This article
contains a few snippets that may prove helpful.

Most of you know that a virus is generally harmless unless you
open the email containing the virus. Did you know that you
expose your computer to danger by unwittingly opening email
messages everyday?

Many email "client" programs, such as Microsoft Outlook,
Netscape Mail, and Outlook Express divide the screen into 3
sections with one of the sections being a "preview" window. When
an email in your inbox is hilited, its contents are displayed in
the preview window without your actually opening the email

The first message on the list in your inbox is automatically
hilited without your having to do anything which means that you
have no chance in deleting the message before it does its damage!

When an email message is displayed in the preview window any
malicious code it contains is free to do its dirty work which
includes unleashing powerful viruses that can destroy your

In addition to the danger of unleashing viruses, an often
overlooked effect of an email messages being displayed in your
preview window is that your email address is verified as being
working - and that results in your email address being sold to
more and more spammers.

Most spam nowadays is sent out as HTML or Rich Text which
allows the sender to include code that sends a request to their
server for a file (usually a graphic, which may or may not be
visible). When that request is received the spammer has verified
that the address is not only working but the spam has been read.
Your email address is then quickly sold to other spammers as a
recently verified address and you receive more and more spam.

You can avoid both viruses and spam by making sure your preview
window or screen is off at all times. I only turn mine on to
preview select messages that I am sure are not spam and do not
contain any attachments - which can run automatically by simply
previewing the message.

The command for turning the preview pane on and off is usually
found under the "VIEW" menu. In Microsoft Products click "VIEW /
Preview Pane" and in Netscape click "VIEW / Message".


You may be contributing to spam and not even know it. One of
the ways spammers send out their junk is by using your web
site's form processing software and server without your
knowledge. The recipients think the spam is coming from you
which is not a good thing!

The world's most popular form processing software is a Perl
script called Formmail and this script is on almost every UNIX
web host in existence. Enterprising spammers have figured out
how to bypass the script's meager security provisions and have
set up their own programs to send spam from any script they
choose - non stop, 24 hours a day.

The latest official version of the script is now secure as of


Are you concerned about Cookies? They are necessary in some
cases to make a site operational - for example, your online
banking site or our own Agents Online Real Estate Idea Centre

In other cases, they are unnecessary and some fear that they
are being used to invade privacy and obtain and store personal
information and information about your habits and movements.



Happenings At

You can promote yourself very well by participating in the
Agents Online Real Estate Discussion Forums,
which are visited by hundreds people who are each viewing
several messages a day now looking for real estate information,
agents, and property listings! All are welcome and
participating in the discussion with over 1300 other members and
sharing your insights is great FREE advertising!

This and That

Search Engine News


A few weeks ago those who had previously paid LookSmart up to
$299, for what was understood to be a one time fee for
consideration for inclusion, received a letter from LookSmart
with the news that they had been "upgraded".

The "upgrade" was automatic inclusion in LookSmart's Pay Per
Click program which demands an up front payment of an additional
$49 plus $0.15 every time someone clicks on the site - with a
minimum fee of $15 per month.

The LookSmart Investors are ecstatic! Wow! What a revenue
stream! Many LookSmart customers however are extremely angry at
the way they perceive they are being treated and webmasters and
Search Engine Specialists report they are for the most part
finding that the value is not there for the costs of "upgrade"
and that the system itself seems to have no mechanism to prevent
abuse. People report being charged for clicks that seem to be
non existent in the log files and keyword targeting is poor.

There is a deadline of July 11 to confirm participation and
after that date those choosing to not participate will be
dropped from the directory. The general feeling seems to be
"Let's wait and see - as LookSmart is bound to come to its
senses and modify the program, perhaps grandfathering existing

I agree with that line of thought and will let my listings
lapse rather than pay as I do not see any value in their
"upgrade". The only value there ever was in being listed in
LookSmart was that it helped your ranking in MSN Search as
LookSmart Directory listings were displayed ahead of Inktomi
listings. Now, I believe there will be fewer and fewer directory
listings and soon it will be possible to place well without
being in LookSmart in most cases.

In fact, I think LookSmart will become even less important than
they now are as I can't think of a single company (that is not a
monopoly) that ever went on to prosper after treating their
customers like dirt. Can you?

Tip Of The Day

An error is not a mistake until you refuse to correct it. -

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