Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Off Topic: A Simple Explanation of SPAM

There is an increasing number of spam messages getting through corporate email servers and into your inboxes.

This happens because:

- the server side spam filter does not recognize (haven't caught up with yet) the new messages. (Think of Steroids in major league baseball - as soon as they figure out how to detect the latest steroids, the labs are already working on next generation drugs - same as evil spam-doers)

- same goes for client side (your PC) spam filters. They may be up to date, but the spam-doers may be ahead of them.

It's important to know:

- Outlook allows us to identify (tag) email as "junk" or "not junk". If we do this, it begins to learn what is junk mail and what is not.

- Some 3rd party client side spam filters work better than Outlook. One of the recommended ones is $ 30 after the trial:

Other options:

Individually: Sign up for a spam blocking service such as SpamArrest - this will require any sender to verify their identity (once)

Server Side:

- You can reduce the tolerance level on the server side spam filter - thus increasing the number of good mails that will be trapped in the spam box, which we then have to "whitelist" so it doesn't happen again, so it's a time constraint either way, whether you are checking Outlook or someone else is checking the spam folder.

Other tips:

- never sign up for online forms, surveys, prizes, contests, downloads, anything with your corporate email address. That's what gmail is for!

- some evil websites will try to install Spyware on your pc. Spyware are programs that run on your pc, collect info, creates popup ads, and sends out messages to people in your address book. You know who deploys the spyware?

You guessed it - the evil spam-doers!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thinking Outside the Cubicle: Fantasy Call Center, The Game?

A smart web developer could create an online version of "Fantasy Call Center" - a game where you can draft a team of agents, and based on their performance, you earn points towards prizes.

Like Fantasy Football, you would track about 10 statistics (as they occur in real time, of course). Among the statistics could be call saves, new orders, upsells, resolutions per minute, calls per hour, etc.

Perhaps the online players draft companies instead of agents - for example, I draft proctor and gamble, netflix and aol (ouch). The combined scores of all three contact centers factor in to determine my own score.

Companies would have to feed their call center statistics into a universal database. They could think of it as participating in a global benchmark study. Think of all of the statistical trends that could be established. The managers of the call centers would certainly be held accountable as their performance is now publicly monitored in an open market.

Users and visitors to the website could learn more about the companies by clicking over to the corporate websites. A little extra web visibility is always appreciated.

Would this have the same appeal as fantasy football - where there are millions of active players on free and paid sites? Not likely, but it sure sounds fun to me.

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