The Year’s Winners & Losers: Australia, Google Rock the Casbah, Canada Limps to Starting Blocks

2013-2014-featured-570x270As the year draws to a close and we scramble to organize whatever tradition it is we choose to celebrate, it’s only appropriate that we pause to reflect on the year that’s wheezing to the finish line. 2013 was an interesting one, and while we haven’t managed to destroy ourselves just yet, we sure give it the old college try. As if the global strife and hunger aren’t enough of an exclamation mark for mankind to emphasize its own fascination with self destruction, the mere existence of Justin Bieber and the Kardashians are sure signs that we’re on a collision course with extinction. And then there’s spam.

Spam. A sure-fire sign that, not only are we bent on finding a way to put rockets on the planet and shoot it into the sun, some of us are, in fact, already purchasing tickets for the trip. I’m just not sure who’s stupider, the spammers or those who bought the tickets. Let’s just call them both IQ-challenged and get on with things. This year, there are several notable recipients for awards on their efforts, or lack thereof, in the war on spam.


I’m Big, I’m Bad, You Know It Award
Winner: Google
Runner-Up: Microsoft

If Google has their way, everyone will be surfing the Web and getting their nerd on with glasses in a few years, and you can’t blame Mega-G for wanting to play in the big boy sandbox with Microsoft and Apple. The company has made all the strategic moves needed to position itself for some big plays, and because they own the search market, you gotta go through them if you want to get to your favorite sites. Well, their Gmail service is part of the big play, and while it may be a bold statement, Gmail researchers this week explained how they’re winning the war on spam. That remains to be seen, but the company has certainly been putting a beat-down on spammers in 2013, and for that, they take the big award.

Microsoft also deserves a hearty nod for its tireless efforts in making the Internet a safer place.

Thunder from Down Under Award
Winner: Australia
Runner-Up: FTC

As inept as Canada has been at getting its anti-spam legislation to the starting blocks (wheelchair may be more appropriate), the nation of Australia hasn’t been resting on its laurels when it comes to a good old-fashioned smackdown on spam and spammers. ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, is in its tenth year with its aggressive Spam Act, and the country that’s also a continent has made tremendous ground, penalizing with prejudice anyone who dares besmirch the good nation’s name by clogging up the Interwebs with spamcrap. Just how successful have they been? In 2003, when the act was enacted, Australia was listed in Sophos’ top 10 spam producing countries. Today, they’re 44. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

The US FTC deserves significant mention here, for their tireless efforts against those nasty spammers. Keep up the great work!


‘Doesn’t Everybody Get a Trophy?’ Award
Loser: Canada

After in-your-face political correctness, one of my biggest pet peeves is the way kids today are misguided into believing that all you have to do is show up to get a trophy. There are no winners or losers, right? Wrong. And the government of Canada, much-maligned over the past several years for its CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Legislation), which was passed in 2010 and touted as the toughest anti-spam legislation there is. Under the law, you can spam your spouse, but don’t dare try to spam your siblings. Wow, right? Wrong. The country that cried wolf has been sitting on this lame duck for years, in large part because it’s a political play by the country’s ruling Conservative government, bent on protecting big business and lobbyists while other nations are actually protecting those the laws were designed to protect – the little guy. Every time we get excited that it’s going to finally grow up into an actionable item, Canada has let us down. All the while, heavyweights like Australia, the UK and the US have been doing it for years. Don’t bother showing up at all, Canada. You’re not getting a trophy for doing nothing and we don’t believe you anymore.

But Wait, There’s More! Award

Loser: Marketing Spammers

Regular readers of know that I’m no fan of email marketers, and for good reason. They’re like the black sheep of an uncle who shows up at Christmas dinner looking for a meal and a non-repayable loan. Consumers don’t like them, either. I’m an ex-marketing professional, so I know the game they’re playing, and it leaves a big angry knot in the pit of my stomach. Why should you dislike them, though? Well, beside the fact that they’re invading your inbox, they’re teaching others how to send you mail that you don’t want. Fortunately, consumers have had enough and are starting to fight back.


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