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Thread: 3 wrong ways to use technology

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    3 wrong ways to use technology

    Ok, I know I'm just a noob and don't know that much. But reading articles like this really improve my perception of what I DO know. I found this article hilarious.
    I just couldn't resist showing it around.

    3 wrong ways to use technology

    Tech Commands / Kim Komando

    I spend a lot of time in this column telling you about the right ways to use technology.


    I even told you how to use the Web to spy on your competitors. But there are wrong ways to use technology as well. Trust me, these three scenarios outlined are a lot more common than you think.

    You want to get an edge on your competition? Avoid trying these and other disingenuous methods. They are more likely to lead to public embarrassment of you and your company, lawsuits or both.

    1. Sending fake e-mail to the competitor's best customer.

    First, you cleverly spoof the return address by either changing the name in the e-mail's "From" line or creating a fictitious e-mail account.

    You know who your competitor's best customer is; she doesn't do business with you. She probably would if she knew more about your competitor. Point out that he has lousy service. His products stink and his prices are high.

    You can't put your name on this so you sign it, "A concerned businessperson." And as a token of your concern, you recommend your own company by name. You speak highly of your products and your sterling service. You mention that your prices are more than reasonable.

    When the customer calls and wants to know who sent the e-mail, you tell her you don't know. But you tell her you're not surprised; you get this all the time.

    Will this work? Of course not. In the best-case scenario, the customer deletes the e-mail. But maybe she has her system administrator look into it. Odds are, the system administrator knows a lot more than you. He's going to use the e-mail's header information, which you didn't even know about, to trace it. This stuff is going to come back to your door. You can bet you'll never get that business.

    Worse, the customer might turn the whole thing over to your competitor. This only confirms his suspicions about you. Maybe he'll tell his other customers about the e-mail. You won't be getting their business, either. And maybe he'll sue you. Won't that be great publicity?

    2. Spreading the word on message boards.

    All right, forget the e-mail. You have a better idea. Every industry has its message boards. Employees gripe. Bosses are disparaged. Company secrets are divulged.

    Practically everybody's anonymous on message boards. Who knows who "Shark" is, for instance. You certainly don't. So all you need is a clever nickname, like "Mr. Integrity."

    Industry people know who your competitor is. And you know that his customers who are rightfully yours read the boards. It won't take them long to figure out that your competitor is a jerk. That'll put you in a great light, right?

    Why, you can even mention yourself. No one will know you're doing it. Talk about your high ethical standards. Write testimonials to your great service, your sense of civic responsibility, the $125 you gave the Boy Scouts. Who's to disagree?

    Well, lots of people, probably. Message boards have been misused so often that everybody is cynical about them. More than likely, your writing style will give you away. But even if it doesn't, there are other ways you can be exposed.

    The message-board company doesn't know who you are. But it knows your Internet Protocol (IP) number. That's an Internet address, in the form In fact, that number may be posted alongside your messages. If it's there, any jerk of a competitor can find utilities on the Web to trace it to you.

    And even if its not there, your competitor may be able to use a subpoena to get it from the message-board company. Don't expect the company to go to the mat for you. You might have to go to court to try to block disclosure of the number. In the best-case scenario, you'll be the laughingstock of your industry. But you could also end up on the losing end of a large judgment.

    3. Skewing online polls in your favor.

    So spreading dirt on the message boards isn't a great idea, either. But here's a foolproof ploy, you think:

    The local chamber of commerce is running an online vote for "Best Businessperson of the Year." Your competitor happens to be one of the nominees. You could hire a hacker to crack the chamber's computer network and take away his votes. Nah, you can't trust hackers, you decide. They have no honor.

    Then it hits you. You'll simply vote many, many times for the other candidates. You'll make sure your competitor comes in last. So you spend the next two weeks sending in votes every chance you get. But when the totals are announced, your competitor wins in a landslide! What happened?

    Unbeknownst to you, the chamber site was downloading cookies to every computer that was used to vote. When you tried to vote again, the cookie told the chamber computer, in effect, that this user had already voted. The site let you mark the ballot and submit it, but it only counted your first vote.

    That's bad, but there's more. The chamber webmaster noticed the same IP number (yours) tried to vote 13 gazillion times. He traced the number back to you. By now, you have received a letter from the executive committee. The chamber of commerce has kicked you out.

    Work hard and work smart instead

    These technology tricks are for the birds. You could try working harder. Make those sales calls. Develop a thick skin and don't worry about rejection. Assuming you have something on the ball, you'll do OK.

    Technology, used correctly, is a great boon. In the wrong hands, it can be a real pain.

    Above all, remember this: There are always people smarter than you. When it comes to misusing technology, what you don't know can really cost you. So use it to help yourself, not hurt others. It's a big pie, and if you run a good business, you'll get your share.

    Want more tech tips for your business? Subscribe to Kim's free weekly e-mail newsletter by sending an e-mail. And listen to The Kim Komando Show each week. See this page to find Kim on the radio station nearest you.
    \"The feeling of losing your mind is a terrible thing. But once it\'s gone, you\'re fine.\"
    Carrie Fisher

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Calgary, AB Canada

    ^^^The source I think that came from.

    Yeah, I read this earlier today as well. Its funny that some businesses think that this stuff will work..... lol, to bad this never came across their desk before they tried it!

    Alcohol & calculus don't mix. Never drink & derive.

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