On the inauguration of his web portal the eminent Indian leader Mr. Adavani said “First major radical invention for humanity was of the wheel, second electricity and third is the internet.” This technology has opened up new avenues to interact with people. As per reports the content on the Internet has grown 8,760 times since 1999.

With the content explosion, celebrities endorsing products increasingly pale in comparison. There was a time when consumers listened to relatives, friends or neighbours to make purchase decisions. Now, thanks to the Internet, even strangers have become influencers.

There are many tools to do this, such as a Website recommendation, a voting button, a favourite list. With economic downturn affecting advertisers, promoting brands through conventional advertising is being re-examined by spenders in a new light amid the rise of new Internet habits. According to a study conducted by Lodestar Universal of 17,000 active Internet users across 29 countries, one of India’s largest media service agencies, says that the rise of social media – which includes social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook and blogs – ‘digital friends’ (like pen pals of yesteryears) and proliferation of Internet channels like photo and video sharing sites are changing the landscape. In India, actively influenced categories include consumer electronics, cellphone services, travel options.

Internet has also got some hazards, You might have probably seen an increase in the amount of “junk mail” which shows up in your email box, or on your favorite newsgroup. The activities of a small number of people are becoming a bigger problem for the Internet. According to a recent study it has been found that just one response for every 12.5 million spam mails sent can turn spammers into millionaires.
Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

I received Spam mails on behalf of the two reputed banks in my inbox. There after I saw a warning on the ATM machine while using it stating to ignore such messages.There are two main types of spam, and they have different effects on Internet users. Cancellable Usenet spam is a single message sent to 20 or more Usenet newsgroups. (Through long experience, Usenet users have found that any message posted to so many newsgroups is often not relevant to most or all of them.) Usenet spam is aimed at “lurkers”, people who read newsgroups but rarely or never post and give their address away. Usenet spam robs users of the utility of the newsgroups by overwhelming them with a barrage of advertising or other irrelevant posts. Furthermore, Usenet spam subverts the ability of system administrators and owners to manage the topics they accept on their systems.

Email spam targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning Usenet postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching the Web for addresses. Email spams typically cost users money out-of-pocket to receive. Many people – anyone with measured phone service – read or receive their mail while the meter is running, so to speak. Spam costs them additional money. On top of that, it costs money for ISPs and online services to transmit spam, and these costs are transmitted directly to subscribers. One particularly nasty variant of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email discussion forums.) Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of addresses, or use the mailing list as a direct target for their attacks.

Researchers from University of California, San Diego and Berkeley hijacked a working spam network and uncovered some of the economics of being a junk mailer. The scientists broke into the Storm network that uses hijacked home computers as relays for junk mail. The research team led by Assistant Professor Stefan Savage from UCSD, created several so-called “proxy bots” that acted as conduits of information between the command and control system for Storm and the hijacked home PCs that actually send out junk mail. They used these machines to control a total of 75,869 hijacked machines and routed their own fake spam campaigns through them. For the study, the researchers created a pharmacy site and ran two types of fake spam campaign through these machines. One mimicked the way Storm spreads using viruses and the other tried to tempt people to visit a fake pharmacy site and buy a herbal remedy to boost their libido.

The fake pharmacy site was made to resemble those run by Storm’s real owners but always returned an error message when potential buyers clicked a button to submit their credit card details. While running their spam campaigns the researchers sent about 469 million junk e-mail messages. The vast majority of these were for the fake pharmacy campaign. After 26 days, and almost 350 million e-mail messages, only 28 sales resulted,” BBC quoted the researchers, as writing. The response rate for this campaign was less than 0.00001percent. This is far below the average of 2.15 pct reported by legitimate direct mail organisations. “Taken together, these conversions would have resulted in revenues of 2,731.88 dollars-a bit over 100 dollars a day for the measurement period,” they added. The researchers estimate that the controllers of the vast system are netting about 7,000 dollars a day or more than 2m dollars per year.