Fri, Mar
24
2006

Phone Spam

Fri, Mar 24, 2006

A fair chunk of the spam that I clean out of my mailbox on a daily basis, thanks to Spamcop, are offers to try and drive more traffic to my website. I can’t count the number of e-mails which have promised top search results on Google and Yahoo. Maybe response has been slow, because these guys are trying to reach me by phone as well.

Here was a conversation I had this morning.

I’m called to the phone because somebody is asking for me personally. I pick up the extension and the man gives his name and his company so fast I can’t register it. Before I can ask him to repeat what he said, he said, “I’m calling to help you drive more traffic to your website.”

My interest in this call quickly diminishes.

“Now, sir, I’m looking at your website, and I’d like to know if you would be interested in getting more business from it.”

“No,” I say.

This clearly flummoxes him.

“If you don’t mind my asking, sir, what do you maintain your website for?”

“Personal reasons,” I say, hanging up the phone.

I was tempted to just leave the phone on the chair (or handing it to Vivian) while the guy gave his spiel, but clearly his spiel required far more interactivity than I was willing to provide.

Is it odd of me to hold these guys in a special level of contempt? One: just what sort of business would these guys drive to my website? Do they seriously have a good plan for increasing the sales of my fan fiction magazines? Or does he expect me to suddenly earn money off of my political commentaries? Or perhaps he’s referring to the Unwritten Girl’s website. In that case: sorry, I already have a publicist.

He seemed genuinely surprised at my “no” answer, so I have to wonder just which website he was looking at, if indeed he was looking at anything. The man obviously hasn’t heard of blogs, where people enjoy posting their deepest thoughts without consideration to making lots of money. The possibility that he might surf through the blogosphere, fruitlessly trying to sell more business to the 80% of bloggers who are on the long tale (and who seem to be fairly content where they are), has me chuckling.

Then there is the question of just what he intends to do to try and drive more business to my website. Submit me to the best search engines? Already there! (and Google is the one search engine that matters). Buy me space in Google Ads? I can do that myself. Post flyers on telephone poles? Don’t be stupid.

No thanks: I’ll take my 300 daily visits (and 3000 daily from Transit Toronto the hard way: by just doing what I enjoy doing. It took me years to get this far, but it’s more natural, I think, than some search engine scam.

Mail spam has also been a bit of a problem, here. For a while, I was receiving these notifications that my domain names were about to expire, cunningly designed to look like a renewal when, in reality, they were a transfer to a different domain registrar. Why should I transfer registrars when I’m paying just $5.99 per year with 1and1? But, to the agency’s credit, when I realized they were about to send me letters for each of the twenty domains I own, I was able to call their 1-800 number and get knocked off their mailing list, and I haven’t received a letter since.

I wrote most of this at Melville’s Cafe in the Waterloo School of Architecture in downtown Cambridge. A great place in a great building with a great view of the Grand River. Free wi-fi to boot. I’ll be coming back here to write, for sure.


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