Holiday Shopping Hits All Time High – Impact of Email

December 29, 2010

This holiday season online spending surged 15%, hitting an all time high estimated at $36.4 billion, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.  

What influenced online sales?  ForeSee Results’ Top 40 Online Retailers studied the influence of social media, search engines and promotional email.   These are the results: 

Communication Method

% of Sales Influenced

Social Media 5%
Search Engines 8%
Promotional Email 19%

What?  Despite all the buzz, hype and spending, social media influenced only 5% of sales!  Promotional emails influenced almost 4 times more sales than social media. 

The ForeSee Results report also emphasized the importance of brand to consumers.  ForeSee Results found that highly satisfied customers are 60% more committed to the brand. 

branded inbox 

The intersection of brand and email promotion is eMail ID.


Santa Adopts see ME

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas.

Even Santa needs to stand out in the inbox.  That is why he is using see ME to share his picture in the inbox.  Because I use see ME, too, I am able to see friends’ pictures in my inbox.

Santa in the inbox

Note that because emails from individuals, like Santa, do not have the integrity of emails from businesses (which have a lot of technical tools to manage their internet presence), Iconix marks Santa and all individuals with a little “i” instead of a check-mark.   

Look what happens when I hover over Santa’s picture:

Santa spring box

When you use the scroll buttons on the sides of the box, you can get to a map that shows the email path.  It shows that Santa “checked in” in Europe when he sent this.

Santa email path

We join Santa in wishing you a Merry Christmas.

Everybody Does It

December 17, 2010

The Pew Internet and American Life Project just released a report on internet usage.  They looked at a wide range of on-line activities over the whole spectrum of ages.  They looked at searching and blogging and auctions and watching video and a myriad of other things.  And what did they discover? Compared to last year’s report, Pew Internet reported increased popularity of social networking in all age groups — which is hardly surprising given Facebook’s rapid growth to more than 500 million users.  Even considering the growth of social networking, the most widely used internet application was —- email!  Email trumps social networking for everyone – even Millenials and Gen X.

On-line Application Usage

Email – everybody does it. Yet we still hear complaints about email – important messages are lost in the cluttered inbox, it’s hard to tell real from fake, and it takes too much time to find messages you want.  Everyone needs better email.  Fortunately, we can help – everyone can have better email with eMail ID.

Is That Email Real?

December 17, 2010

How hard it is to tell a real email from a fake email?  It is real hard, as the recent confusion at the popular site WOW Insider demonstrated.

Over the last several days, Blizzard, the publisher of leading games such as World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft, responded to a security problem by sending a password reset email to users.  On December 14, WOW Insider, a popular Warcraft blog and information site, warned the WOW community that the password reset email was a phishing attack.  On December 15, WOW Insider retracted the phishing story and advised the WOW community that the password reset email was real.

 Although eMail ID would not have helped in this case because Blizzard emails are not marked by our service, we do mark emails from about 2,000 other senders.  For those senders that we do mark, eMail ID will help avoid the confusion that WOW Insider experienced. 

icons in inbox

Don’t skip that important email.  Know it’s real.  Use eMail ID.

2010: The Year of the Phish

December 10, 2010

Two internet security companies have released reports about phishing.  As you probably know if you follow Iconix, phishing is on-line fraud which is perpetrated by the impersonation of legitimate email senders.  

Symantec reported that one of the top trends in 2010 was the extent of phishing. Symantec estimated that projected approximately 95.1 billion phishing emails for 2010.  

Webroot reported that according to the FDIC phishing losses for small companies were $25 million in the third quarter alone.  Webroot recommends four steps to take to protect against phishing:

  • Install web security
  • Install pop-up blockers
  • Educate, Educate, Educate to learn the signs of phishing
  • Implement policies to protect information.

So, in addition to these recommendations, we suggest using a tool that will help you avoid phishing emails.  By using a tool such as eMail ID, which identifies real emails from thousands of email senders, you can avoid missteps prompted by fake emails.  

Don’t be fooled.  Know it’s real.  Use eMail ID.

Phishing – It’s Not Just Targeting Consumers

December 6, 2010

When we think of phishing, we immediately think of the fake emails sent to consumers that pretend to be from trusted senders, such as PayPal, eBay, banks and insurance companies.  Consider the essence of a phishing attack – it is a fake email that masquerades as something the recipient wants.  In the consumer arena, that could be a special offer, your bank statement or the status of your insurance claim.  WikiLeaks has revealed that consumers aren’t the only targets of fake emails designed to steal credentials or infect computers. 

In State Department documents leaked by WikiLeaks as reported in the New York Times, in 2008 agents of the Chinese government used a document labeled “salary increase – survey and forecast” as bait in a scheme that compromised more than 50 megabytes of email and a complete list of user names and password from an unidentified US government agency. 

Another leaked cable contains a warning from the Secretary of State’s office warning about a spear-phishing attack (spear-phishing is a phishing attack that is highly customized and targeted to specific people) directed at five State Department employees involved in global warming policy.  The fake email pretended to be from a respected columnist and was intended to install malware on the victims’ computers.  Similar attacks, “tenuously connected” to the Chinese government, were made against German government targets.

 These incidents remind us that telling real emails from fake emails is hard and that the bad guys continue to work at making it harder.  As a consumer, eMail ID is a free tool you can use to help identify real emails from nearly 2,000 top senders.

Phishing – You Need To Protect Yourself!

December 4, 2010

A key element in the fight against phishing is taking down the websites of criminals.  How long does this take?  It takes about 60 minutes for security vendors to identify a phishing campaign.  Industry leading takedown vendors, such as FraudWatch International, claim average takedown times of 6 hours.  How much damage can the bad guys do in six hours? 

New research from Trusteer answers that question.  50% of the credentials which are stolen are stolen within the first 60 minutes. By the 7th hour (1 hour to discover, 6 hours to take down), the criminals have captured about 85% of the total credentials that will be stolen in the phishing attack.  This table from Trusteer shows the speed, in hours, at which credentials are stolen.

phishing damage over time

Therefore, from the perspective of the target of a phishing attack, blocking a bad guy’s site after 5 hours is almost irrelevant. 

What a consumer needs to do is protect online credentials.  Part of the fight to protect online credentials is to avoid responding to phishing emails.  Bad emails can be avoided by using a tool such as eMail ID, which identifies real emails from many email senders.

Don’t be fooled.  Know it’s real.  Use eMail ID.