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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Spam Spam Spam and Salesforce.com

Comments (5)

I’ve been investing in Internet-related email stuff since 1995.  I still remember when I got my first Internet email address (brad@id.wing.net) back in 1994 – shortly before I figured out I could set up email on brad@feld.com.  Email has evolved in some amazing ways over the last 12 years while at the same time standing still in others (thanks Mr. SMTP – both directions.)

In 2000, I started noticing spam again.  I think the first time I heard “spam” was in college – one of the guys in my fraternity (John Underkoffler) loved to do all kinds of bizarre things with spam (except eat it) – at some point in the mid 1980’s I learned what email spam was.  Between 1995 and 2000 I occasionally got some spam, but it usually just pointed me to an online porn site which was still a novelty at that point in time.

I can’t remember what eventually slapped me in the face, but one day I woke up and realized that spam was going to be a huge problem.  A gang of us got together (me, Chris, Ryan) – all who had done lots of things with email – and we ended up making two investments – Return Path and Postini – that addressed different parts of the spam issue (and have both been extremely successful, exciting, and well run companies that I’m proud of.)

When I started blogging in 2004, it was obvious to me that comment and trackback spam would be a problem.  So far almost all the solutions to “blam” (my word for “blog spam”) have been weak and similar to several of the early and not particularly durable solutions to email spam.  Akismet moved things up a level, but still has its share of issues, especially when faced with a new type of attack.  Oh – and the attacks so far are very unsophisticated (although getting more so quickly.)

Today, I noticed Rick Klau’s (from FeedBurner) post on Salesforce.com spam.  It’s great and has a lot of details about the issues he is facing in his Salesforce.com fight with spam along with details about his current solution.  It’s a little surprising that Salesforce.com doesn’t view this as “their problem”, but then again Microsoft said spam would be gone by 2004.

The endless war against the Internet Axis of Evil continues.  Where is Jack Bauer when you need him?

  • http://www.HedgeStop.com Daniel Carroll

    I have been slowly inching into a short position into CRM’s stock trading at almost a 1000 P/E and close to $48.

    Hopefully, negative news like this continues!

  • Bill

    Interesting ‘response’ from SF.com. Brad, as you know, I have been using sf.com for well over 5 years, and know the app pretty well.

    Their limits on me for how I can mass-email opt-in info to my customers is pretty over-reaching, limiting me to 100 emails at a time. That makes life difficult for a software company to announce a bug fix or availabilty of a new download to 1000 customers.

    Now their back-end is too open and allowing other companies to come in and spam? Too ironic.

  • http://www.solidw.com Sue Kunz

    Ironically I recieved one of my best spam “slip throughs” in a while today, namely “Drugs Porn Stars Use”. I laughed out loud. How can a spam filter miss this one. (Note, the spam filter caught 1300 titles in the last 2 weeks.)

    Needless to say I had to open it, and if I ever want a serios erection, I have “expert?” advice.

    Hmm .. spam filters may no longer work w/o mention of “weapons of mass destruction”. Bummer.

    Enjoyed the blog.

    Sue

  • http://www.powerhires.com/howitworks.php Shanon

    I think you’ve missed one type of spam – resume spam. Just post a job online and you’ll get hundreds of resumes from people who didn’t read the posting and aren’t qualified, and hundreds more from off-shoring shops (who also didn’t read the posting).

    Needless to say, this wastes lots of time and energy, and fighting this type of spam is why I started PowerHires.com.

  • http://www.emovendo.com Sebastien

    Spamming is a major problem when implementing a web-to-lead solution.
    Unfortunately the default Salesforce web-to-lead utility does not provide any anti spam functionalities yet, which might prevent some Salesforce user to successfully implement an effective Web-to-Lead strategy.
    For anyone willing to fill the gap between their website and Salesforce without worrying about spam, I suggest using FormVester (available form the AppExchange).
    FormVester generate leads form any of your existing online forms, without the hassle of reprogramming them

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