Wandering Thoughts archives


A thought on iTunes and similar online services

What iTunes and similar online services are really selling is convenience and guilt-avoidance, with a small side order of helping out the artists. They're manifestly not selling the music itself (or videos or etc), since you can find them online yourself if you look hard enough.

The 'helping out the artists' bit is currently only a small side order because most everyone understands at some level how little of the money involved actually makes it to the artists.

The guilt-avoidance is not a good long term thing to base your business on, because there's an increasing amount of evidence that the current generation of teenagers feels very little guilt about this stuff to start with. (Partly, I like to suspect, because very few people feel very much guilt about not giving money to visibly rapacious record companies.)

On a legal front, the highest payoff is from closing down non-authorized services that make it convenient to find this stuff on the Internet, because they are your primary competition in the long term.

(Not only is suing individual downloaders time-consuming for a low payoff, but young people famously feel that they're immortal and that the odds don't apply to them, hence I think it has a low deterrent value.)

Odious DRM is thus cold-bloodedly counterproductive because it reduces the convenience factor.

(And iTunes et al can be viewed as a grand experiment in how much pain consumers will put up with before you drive them into the arms of more obscure, non-authorized sources. The early music company online music store attempts have already given us some data points.)

tech/ITunesThought written at 13:52:15; Add Comment

Weekly spam summary on September 9th, 2006

This week, we:

  • got 15,100 messages from 230 different IP addresses.
  • handled 18,312 sessions from 982 different IP addresses.
  • received 156,592 connections from at least 49,202 different IP addresses.
  • hit a highwater of 36 connections being checked at once, set on Saturday (today).

Message volume is up from last week, but I'm not too surprised; this is the start of classes and thus the time when all sorts of things come out of the woodwork and need to be emailed about. The per-day breakdown:

Day Connections different IPs
Sunday 20,556 +7,236
Monday 24,913 +8,452
Tuesday 24,521 +7,693
Wednesday 25,250 +7,693
Thursday 22,355 +6,929
Friday 21,720 +6,690
Saturday 17,277 +4,509

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the whatever-it-is traffic didn't take Labour Day off.

Kernel level packet filtering top ten:

Host/Mask           Packets   Bytes          18567    965K       11572    522K           4542    221K          3442    173K         2723    145K           2670    160K         2669    128K          2008    120K           1972    118K         1957    117K

Overall volume is both up (at the high end) and down (at the low end) from last week.

  • and both return from last week, still with bad HELO greetings.
  • kept trying to send spam after tripping our traps.
  • returns from August, blocked due to having no reverse DNS.
  • and also have no reverse DNS.
  • is a frys.com machine. Although I suspect that it is trying to send us a backscatter bounce, it got blocked due to the behavior exhibited here.

Connection time rejection stats:

  33545 total
  16606 dynamic IP
  13517 bad or no reverse DNS
   2131 class bl-cbl
    249 class bl-njabl
    185 class bl-sbl
    166 class bl-dsbl
    131 class bl-sdul
     75 class bl-ordb
     46 class bl-spews

I have more or less given up peering into my crystal ball about the week to week connection time rejection stats unless something big changes. (Ironically, I missed the big change last week, which was the jump in the SBL's rejection rate to just behind the CBL.)

Seven of the top 30 most rejected IP addresses were rejected 100 times or more, with the champion being (215 times), with (210 times, an Interbusiness IP address that is also on the CBL et al).

22 of the top 30 most rejected IP addresses are currently in the CBL, 8 are currently in bl.spamcop.net, and 2 are currently in the SBL; both are 'Cutting Edge Media' IP addresses. Apparently those people just don't give up.

Hotmail stats this week are a bit better than last week, but worse on a personal level:

  • 2 messages accepted, both spam sent to me.
  • No messages rejected because they came from non-Hotmail email addresses.
  • 21 messages sent to our spamtraps.
  • 2 messages refused because their sender addresses had already hit our spamtraps.
  • No messages refused due to their origin IP address

And the final numbers:

what # this week (distinct IPs) # last week (distinct IPs)
Bad HELOs 593 80 2258 140
Bad bounces 101 91 263 233

Apart from the welcome reduction in these numbers, this week is pretty much the same as last week. The bad bounces did see the return of one of the 38-character hex digit login names as a destination, which makes me obscurely happy, much like Ursula Vernon spotting a botfly-infected squirrel.

spam/SpamSummary-2006-09-09 written at 01:16:29; Add Comment

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