Evil Geniuses

Ad page purveyors are getting trickier. If you are like me, you probably get many, maybe dozens or even hundreds of unsolicited ad pages sent to your email every day. For many years I’ve just ignored them. Sometimes reading them, sometimes not and just deleting them. However, deleting does not make the sender go away. I had often read that one should not click on the unsubscribe link, as that only tells the sender, or more accurately his or her software, that a live person is at the other end of the connection.

Lately I’ve decided to just click “Unsubscribe” on the ad page… if I can find it… and see what happens. For the most part it works fine. Many senders really have stopped sending me their ads. Some have not, of course.

However, I’ve recently noticed a trickier thing they do. If appears that at least some percentage of the ad purveyors place the unsubscribe page outside of the security umbrella of their HTTPS link (i.e. the unsubscribe page has only an HTTP URL). This means that if you have a “watch dog” internet security system installed on you computing device you will get a message from it advising you that the page you requested is not secure, and do you want to proceed or go back. Some ad purveyors are now trying to scare users into staying subscribed.

If enough users, fearing what might happen if they venture into “unsecure” territory, choose to go back and not click the “Unsubscribe” button, then they (the ad purveyors) may not lose as many subscribers as they would if they had been just a little more transparent. In this way their ad site may not suffer the indignity of losing as many subscribers.

As always,

Have a rewarding compute

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