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The Preachy Blog

Fighting Spam and Greenwashing

Red beetle in forest yellow flower Tufted titmouse, singing big green beetle - calosoma scrutator



1/31/2010 -- Fighting Spam and Greenwashing

No blog posting since quite some time. We were busy switching our domain hosting service. Despite all that worldwide connectivity, we learned that it matters a lot where the provider is located. Let me get a green spin into this post. Our previous provider claims they run a "CO2 free datacenter", which lead to quite funny discussions as we reported in May 2008.

Our new provider cannot be short of that of course - we are now with a provider who is committed to "help support renewable energy programs and minimizing the impact [...] on the environment as well as providing truly green hosting products". As before, we hope this is not only for marketing purposes. At least we like the idea that invoicing is paperless. For everything else we are cautiously optimistic, but sceptical.

Maybe because we had an unedifying experience with the "Allianz Group", just this weekend. They were writing to please sign-up for their online-services to, among other benefits, "save paper and costs", for "protecting the environment". I'm thrilled! (well, kind of :)) At least it's a thoughtful idea.

Imagine the disappointment when reading the fine-print during sign-on (while handing over your email address of course): With a tiny checkbox you are asked to accept the "Terms and Conditions of Use", which contain somewhere in the middle your agreement to receive "information about products of companies of the Allianz Group, if you do not expressly object to this". Of course, you cannot object to this conveniently by another checkbox. Noooooo! You need to scroll down to point 9 (out of 10) in the fine print. There it is explained, that you can either call or email. Strange online-service, where they forgot an online unsubscribe-function. Hmmmm. This strangely feels like somebody took the opportunity to not only "relief the environment", but to send out some unsolicited emails. Greenwashing again?

Did you know, that around 90% of all emails are believed to be spam (as per the "Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group")? With the corresponding necessity of providing Net infrastructure of course. That is, a significant portion of the Internet infrastructure is provided in order to cope with all these unwanted emails.

We took this opportunity to protect all feedback forms on ysmad with a "Captcha" now to avoid spam we regularly received. We used "reCaptcha", an interesting idea which will simultaneously help digitizing old books and radio broadcasts. Curious? Send us a feedback and see for yourself! :)
wk




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