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IAR Bits and Bytes

Report: Spam Outnumbers Legit E-Mail

Last month, more spam was sent than legitimate e-mail, according to e-mail security services provider MessageLabs.

In its monthly roundup of e-mail trends, the firm found that 55 percent of the 133.9 million e-mails scanned by its system were flagged as spam. The total number of spam messages is up 41 percent from last May and 39 percent from just a month earlier.

"The volume of spam facing computer users every day has now far surpassed the point of being a nuisance and is now causing significant productivity losses and IT costs at businesses across the world," said Mark Sunner, MessageLabs' chief technology officer.

While no worldwide figure exists for the amount of money cost by spam, Ferris Research has pegged the cost of spam for U.S. businesses at $9 billion last year. With spam levels surging this year -- Brightmail, another anti-spam company, has seen a 23 percent higher monthly volume of spam attacks since the start of the year -- the cost would likely be much higher.

IAB: Superstitials Rival TV for Branding

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and McDonald's released more research from their cross-media optimization study, showing that larger and showier Internet ad units can better communicate brand attributes than TV commercials.

The research, part of the McDonald's cross-media study of an ad campaign for its chicken flatbread sandwich, compared the branding responses of consumers to a 30-second TV commercial with those to various Internet ad formats. McDonald's found that TV performed better than online in conveying that the sandwich is new, yet did not perform as well in communicating "different" and "exciting". For those attributes, Unicast's "Superstitial" between-page ad generated a better consumer response. Other online ad formats, including banners and skyscrapers, did perform nearly as well as either the TV commercial or the Superstitial.

The IAB has invested heavily in its cross-media series of case studies to make the case that traditional marketers should increase the share of online in their media budgets, usually at the expense of TV. In addition to McDonald's, advertisers like Kimberly Clark and Unilever have participated in case studies. Dutch bank ING plans to release its own case study this fall.

Siebel Nets BoldFish

Siebel Systems , a customer relationship management software giant, announced on Wednesday that it acquired and integrated the assets of e-mail provider BoldFish.

BoldFish's messaging services are now part of Siebel's latest version of its Email Marketing suite, which now includes BoldFish's bounced-message handler. One of BoldFish's largest customers, MLB.com, has signed up with Siebel for its e-mail services that offer fans game results, player stats, and breaking news.

"The acquisition of BoldFish represents a continued commitment by Siebel Systems to be the leading provider of marketing automation and analytics applications," said Richard Gorman, Siebel's senior vice president for products and alliances.

Siebel's e-mail marketing suite will be generally available this summer.