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Halloween Spam Brings More Tricks Than Treats

October 31st, 2007

halloween-spam1.jpgSpammers often take advantage of holidays so that they can try to sell more products to people who may already be in a buying mood, and it seems that Halloween is no exception. This year, gift card spam has been getting more popular, and as this article from Sophos.com points out, some spammers have combined these two ideas and set up a phishing site that attempts to collect personal information from email recipients in exchange for the promise of getting a Halloween gift card.

The spam mail employs various Halloween-related puns and clichés and promises visitors that they can receive a free $250 MasterCard gift card if they click on one of the links in the email and fill out the questionnaire that follows. The site then asks for a significant amount of information such as email addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, and the like, after which visitors are taken through a series of other questionnaires pertaining to topics such as student loans, cigarette smoking, and other unrelated issues.

It is not clear whether the intent of the spam is to collect information for identity theft purposes or is simply another instance of overzealous marketing. In either case, if you happen to receive an email like this, it is not advisable to click through on the link or input any of your personal information. If you do, the most likely outcome will be an increase in your “spam to ham” ratio; in other words, you will have to deal with more unsolicited junk mail.

Meanwhile, John Graham-Cumming has released the next issue of his anti-spam newsletter, which includes some useful information about recent trends in spam-related trickery. Spammers are now beginning to use animated image files that display the names of their products or keywords as a way of slipping their messages through most spam filters. Pump-and-dump stock scams are now being spread by MP3 attachments, while a worm called Storm that began spreading last year still has antivirus experts befuddled as to how to contain or eliminate it. Finally, Chris Drake shares his ideas on ways to separate spam from ham. More details are posted below:

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ToBux Review: AdBux Clones Just Keep On Coming

October 30th, 2007

Yes, here we go again. Yet another AdBux clone has surfaced, and as of this writing appears to have attracted over 5000 members already. Normally I wouldn’t bother posting about this because there are already dozens, perhaps hundreds of similar sites all using the same basic script. But this particular program that I discovered has two notable “features” that set it apart from most of the other AdBux clones. The first is that it appears to have originated in France and even has a French promotional banner.

Things get even more interesting when we begin to look at the various pages of the site and actually read the content. The home page title tag reads “Tobux really cash money”, while their explanation of the program to potential affiliates contains statements such as “advertisers trust us through our words and our offers to them offered a price mediocre”. The News page is especially remarkable; the content is approximately half English and half French, with the English portions of the text displaying such gems as “Your payout réalised in 24 hours opening worked” and “Begin dice now has to earn money”.

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Karlonia Accepted for PineCone Research Panel

October 29th, 2007

pinecone-research.jpgAnother bit of good news arrived tonight when I received an email from PineCone Research Panel saying that I have finally been accepted. I managed to find one of their banners about two weeks ago and went through their registration process. I wound up getting a couple of duplicate copies of their registration email over the next few days even after I had answered the additional questions from the original mail and signed up for the panel. Fortunately, I found out later that this was just a technical glitch and they had in fact received my original registration.

Pinecone Research is somewhat of an elite club and for many people represents the “cream of the crop” in the paid survey world. Although their panel is free to join, not just anyone can sign up with them, and there is no registration form on their website. The only way to get into PineCone is to find one of their banners, click on it, and fill out the registration form that appears. The initial signup is pretty simple; in fact, the questions asked are very similar to the ones on the MySurvey registration page. After a day or two, you should receive a “thank you” email that will provide you with an ID number and password, along with a link to another short questionnaire which you will need to fill out in order to fully complete the registration process. My email looked like this:

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Tips To Lower Your Thanksgiving Dinner Stress

October 28th, 2007

Thanksgiving is not only a time worth celebrating with the family and friends, it is also a festivity where food, as well as stress, are literally overwhelming. And all the hassles begin with the preparation of the Thanksgiving dinner.

In actuality, preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be quite daunting, but there are many ways to reduce the level of stress during this stage of the celebration, to enable you to come up with a special dinner for you and your loved ones. Below is a simple and easy guide for a relatively stress-free and festive Thanksgiving celebration.

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Elizabeth Brooks Urges Libertarians to Get Out the Vote

October 27th, 2007

libertarian-pary-logo.jpgElizabeth Brooks, the Volunteer Coordinator for the national Libertarian Party, is encouraging members to assist in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts by using the party’s relatively new Ballot Base system. Ballot Base is an organized database of registered Libertarian voters that facilitates campaigns by allowing volunteers to place calls to people who are likely to vote for Libertarian candidates and reminding them that they need to go out to the polls on Election Day.

This year, the LP is awarding prizes in the form of gift certificates for LPStuff.com to the top callers. Details of this email notification on GOTV efforts are published below:


Dear Libertarian,

As you may know, this is a critical time of year for the Libertarian Party. The main objective of the Libertarian Party is to get Libertarian candidates elected to office!

On November 6, 2007, we have the opportunity to do exactly that. There will be state legislative elections, citizen initiatives, and a variety of local offices on the ballot. We must ensure that our candidates are successful this year!

One of the easiest ways to do so is to use our most efficient tool for helping Libertarian candidates: LP Ballot Base.

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Oklahoma Ballot Access Battles Continue

October 26th, 2007

lpoklahoma.JPGShane Cory has sent out another letter informing us about the current status of the ballot access situation in Oklahoma. Apparently state legislators, in their continuing attempt to suppress any hint of opposition to the two-party system, are proposing even more unfair, unnecessary laws that would prohibit paying petitioners on a per-signature basis. This could become a problem for us because petitioners are normally paid according to their performance rather than a strictly time-based system. Having to pay these kinds of workers on a per hour basis would make it less likely that they would be motivated to actually collect signatures for us. Of course, this is exactly what the State is hoping for because it means that the chances of there ever being more than two parties on the ballot will be reduced even further.

Meanwhile, the petition drive by Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) continues, and still needs significant funding in order to reach their goal of 100,000 signatures. Anyone who actually gives a flying horseflip about the opportunity to vote for candidates other than Republicans or Democrats is encouraged to donate, as success by OBAR would help all third parties and independent candidates, not just the Libertarians. Shane Cory’s explanation of the details regarding the Oklahoma ballot access issue is reprinted below:

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AdBux Launches New AdBux Offer Section

October 25th, 2007

The pay-per-click program AdBux, not to be confused with Bux.to and a myriad of other clone sites, has expanded the earning possibilities of members with their rollout of a new “Browse Offers” page earlier today. This is welcome news for me because overall earnings with this program have been quite slow lately. There have not been many ads available to click on, and the ones that do appear often expire quickly because there are so many other members to use up the advertiser’s allotted number of clicks.

However, the new paid-for-action offers, if they are approved and credited properly, will greatly increase the earnings potential and make it much easier to reach the $10 minimum payout within a reasonable amount of time. They are also offering a generous 50% commission on all offers completed by referrals, which may help me somewhat because of my previous subscription to the AdBux autoline.

I have already completed a few of the offers earlier tonight and submitted them for approval. Time will tell whether or not they get approved and eventually credited to the account (according to the site, it can take up to 32 days to actually credit the funds), but if all goes well, I might need to take this program off my “not worth it” list. Meanwhile, you can read the latest email from AdBux announcing the latest expansion:

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The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

October 24th, 2007

ngc4414galaxy.jpgThe idea of searching for intelligent life in other areas of the universe is one that has intrigued astronomers and other curious stargazers for years. This article by Jamie Sue Austin posits that we should not give up the search even though the possibility of finding anything within our natural life spans seems very remote. On the other hand, with all of the ignorance and stupidity that still exists in the world today, we may need to keep searching for intelligent life on this planet.


Since the 1960’s, individuals and organizations have been searching the skies for radio transmissions from worlds other than our own. The largest organization to date is SETI or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which was founded in 1983. Radio signals from Earth have been traveling into space since “Hey Rainey” (the supposed first words to be spoken on radio in 1892). We have yet to receive a reply. This leads some to believe that the search for extraterrestrial life is a futile one. Although the evidence may be weighed in their favor, now is not the time to give up the search.

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Opinion Matters: MySurvey October 2007 Newsletter

October 23rd, 2007

MySurvey.com, a market research company that allows members to register at the site and get paid for taking surveys, has released this month’s edition of their newsletter, Opinion Matters. In its content, the MySurvey staff answers several questions that have been asked by members relating to issues in which some people get stuck in the middle of taking a survey for some reason and cannot seem to complete it.

Join Mysurvey.com Here

There is also a detailed explanation for how to keep track of points that have been awarded for surveys. Information on how to track checks or other forms of payment that we have requested is included as well.

Finally, the results of a recent survey about how people celebrate Halloween are displayed in the table at the end of the page.

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2000 Presidential Election Revisited

October 22nd, 2007

clintonnolongerworst.jpgThis article by Jamie Sue Austin highlights some of the problems with “voting irregularities” during the 2000 presidential election. Although this essay seems to have been written before the 2004 election, some of these same issues resurfaced, but the reports were mostly centered around the state of Ohio rather than Florida.


The 2000 Presidential election brought with it a scandal not seen since 1876. There were countless accusations of voter disenfranchisement, police intimidation, and an arduous recount complete with court proceedings. Thousands of people packed into the polls on November 7th, 2000. Many would be turned away because their names were on the “scrub list” given by the company ChoicePoint to Florida officials (Palast 22). Florida hires a private company to clean voter registration roles of ineligible voters. It is the only state to do so. The list was supposed to be composed of past felons, but included many people with similar names, most of whom had never committed a crime.

Still others would not make it to the polls at all. Road blocks were put up in some communities that prevented voters from getting to their designated polling place. Police harassed people as they traveled to the polling areas. Then there were the votes themselves to consider. Almost 90,000 voters were disenfranchised by the “scrub list”. This by itself is a significant number, but not nearly as impressive as the 179,855 ballots that Florida’s official did not count at all. (Palast 13, 62.)

That’s right. 179,855 ballots were not counted. These spoiled ballots far outweighed the 537 vote difference that elected our President but were largely ignored. Exactly how do 179,855 ballots go bad? It didn’t have so much to do with the voters themselves but the machines that were used. Some machines were programmed to spit out incorrect ballots so that voters could correct them. Some were set so that these ballots were eaten by the machine, never to be counted. Sometimes the mistakes were as simple as both writing in the name for the candidate and punching the hole for his name on the same ballot. In areas that vote primarily Democratic machines were set to eat incorrect ballots, while machines set to reject them were stationed mostly in areas that vote Republican (Palast 64.)

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Share Ad Space Reduces Advertising Prices

October 21st, 2007

After a long dry spell, Share Ad Space (SAS) has delivered a notable program update, announcing a temporary reduction in both membership upgrades and regular advertising packages. Perhaps more significantly, Admin Rod Baker has hinted that a new paid-to-promote feature is in the works, which represents an exciting development for SAS fans.

For most of the program’s history, the main feature that most SAS members used was the paid-to-promote (PTP) system. It employed a rather Byzantine method of awarding cashable credits based on country tiers, 12-hour unique page views, and a fairly restrictive list of pre-approved sites where PTP pages were allowed to be promoted for credit. Membership upgrades were also available for a relatively low weekly rate, allowing “Pro” or “Elite” members to obtain better manual surfing ratios and earn more cashable credits for each valid page view they sent to the PTP pages.

Unfortunately for then-current members, the whole system had to be scrapped in July 2006 after a lightning strike (along with an unbelievable blunder by a technician at the hosting company that caused the server’s backup files to be erased) irrevocably corrupted most of the program’s database files, prompting Rod Baker to eventually restart SAS from scratch last November. The PTP system disappeared, replaced by relatively cheap advertising credits, some very small random cash awards for using the manual surfer, a “trade or no trade” game, and more recently, a new match game.

If things go smoothly, the new PTP system should be interesting. Unlike the old system, it promises to have no restrictions on where members can promote the pages, and will reportedly offer higher payment rates ranging from $2 to $3 per thousand page views. The main “catches” will be that the page views must be 6-hour system wide uniques, and the new feature (at least initially) will only be available to upgraded members. Admin is hoping that these new features will prompt members to promote the pages outside of the usual traffic exchange and PTR industries, which could bring in an influx of fresh members who may be more receptive to SAS advertisers.

The full text of the latest program update is provided below:

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