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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Incisive Media / writeathomesystems.com spam

Incisive Media is a little-known firm that comprises the rump of the much better known VNU Publications that was sold off into private equity a few years ago.

You might know the name "Incisive Media" through their miserable failure to sustain Personal Computer World which was one of the oldest computer magazines in the world, but they also own several other professional publications.

So, I was a little surprised to see that Incisive now seems to be in the business of sending out get-rich-quick spam.

Subject: Private Equity Europe
From: "Chesther Jane" <mcjane99@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, December 2, 2009 7:21 pm

Respected Friends,
“Who else wants to earn a full-time income writing on the INTERNET? You can start earning money writing online even if you have no prior experience.” If you can write at a 9th grade level, you could easily earn a full time income writing online.
Companies are desperately looking for entry level writers. If you want to start
earning money writing at home, this may be the most important page on the Internet you’ll read all year. Right now, you can make really good money, quickly and easily.
Chesther Jane
to unsubscribe reply REMOVE

Thank you for visiting my site!


Private Equity Europe and Incisive Media do not take any responsibility for the
content of this email

The spam originates from which is an Incisive Media IP address, and a close look at the mail headers shows more evidence:

Message-ID: <02 Dec 2009 19:21 IncisiveMailer@www.incisivemedia.com>

The URL miniurl.com/22939 forwards to Caroline.mikepsanderswri.click2sell.eu which is a laughably pathetic work-at-home scheme on the click2sell.eu affiliate network. To give click2sell.eu some credit, they are pretty good at terminating spammers.. which is why spammers try to mask their affiliate URLs.

I said "laughably pathetic", because you end up at writeathomesystems.com which attempts to recruit people to part with cold hard cash in order to learn how to write and market articles on the web.

Now, I'm not the best writer in the world.. and we all make tpyos now and again, but this one has a howler:

Yes, that says "(Prize will be changed tomorrow from $34.95 to $64.95)" when I'm really pretty sure that they mean "price".

Incidentally, a check of the Google cache shows that it was still referring to a price change "tomorrow" six days ago. I think there's a word for that.

Anyway, despite writeathomesystems.com truly crappy ad copy and highly dubious marketing techniques, they are not responsible for the spam. And as already mentioned, I know that click2sell.eu are pretty good at terminating spammers... so who is responsible?

Well, obviously the affiliate is responsible.. but also the people who strenuously deny responsibility are right in the frame.. remember the footer from the Incisive Media spam?

Private Equity Europe and Incisive Media do not take any responsibility for the
content of this email
That's a bit like saying "I don't take any responsibility for taking a shit in your shoes" even though you have just left a big steaming turd in someone's footwear. And one vital question is.. where did the spammers get their email addresses from? Did Incisive sell them on? Or were they scraped?

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