E-cards: I delete them all unopened … You?

Send me an e-mail and chances are you'll get a reply. … Send me an e-card, however, and don't hold your breath.

I don't open them — ever — and if an unscientific survey of my colleagues is any indication, I am far from alone in this delete-on-sight detachment from these ubiquitous electronic annoyances. A few co-workers open e-cards selectively if not gingerly; most do not at all.

The matter percolated to the surface recently when Symantec released its latest "State of Spam" report that included this nugget: "Greeting card spam remains a spammer favorite. Symantec saw over 250 million of these spam messages being targeted towards a sample set of customers in July."

Seems as though at least two or three a day make it by our spam filters. (No word of a lie: Three have popped into my inbox since I've begun been writing this item.) … Delete, delete … delete. Not so much as a moment's thought.

One reason that I've unilaterally stopped opening them is that I receive so many that are obviously spam that I do not consider it worth my time to attempt to differentiate between those that are spam and the one in 100 that might actually be from someone I know. The cost simply outweighs the benefit.

And I reach this state knowing that it carries a small risk, too, as a colleague just mentioned that he recently deleted without thought an e-card that carried a legitimate invitation and the party so ignored expressed a degree of pique over the perceived slight.

Tough petunias, I say; use a form of communication that doesn't require the recipient to play detective before opening.

Frankly, it's a wonder anybody opens these things given the prevalence of headlines such as these, culled from just the first page of results on Google News for a search on "e-cards": Not quite a Hallmark moment: E-cards sent by identity thieves; Fake e-cards signal massive DDoS attack; New Computer Scam Involves Bogus E-Cards; and, E-Cards Deliver New Internet Danger.

I sent e-mail inquiries to a half-dozen companies that market e-cards — including Hallmark and Yahoo — asking for comment about the impact spam and virus threats are having on their e-card customers and e-card franchises.

Haven't heard a word in reply. … Perhaps they didn't dare open my e-mail.

If you have something to say about it or would like to vote in our "Do you open E-cards?" poll, visit buzzblog here.

Verizon fights fire with a smokescreen

What started with a minor fire at home in Needham, Mass., on Aug. 8 last week careened into a full-scale donnybrook between Buzz and Verizon, whose service technician started the whole thing by drilling into an electrical main. We had Verizon PR people posting to Buzzblog and denying there was any fire … or even smoke. We had fire officials calling Verizon all wet and an eye-witnesses describing "billowing smoke." We even had a Verizon VP using a company blog to accuse little ol' me of trying to "take down" the multibillion-dollar telecommunications behemoth.

Can't remember the last time I got paid for having so much fun. If you'd like to catch up on the details and weigh in, try this Buzzblog item and start bouncing around the links.

Or fire off an e-mail to buzz@nww.com.

Learn more about this topic

Symantec: Adult spam down, image spam climbs

03/09/07

Spam outbreak hits 5 billion messages

06/20/07

Spam spikes wreak havoc

06/04/07

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