who pays for spammers?

Granted, we’re well aware of the spammers out there who send us unwanted emails. And anyone who’s visited a support forum has likely read a slightly newer version of “content spam”. It will appear as what could possibly be a legitimate user’s comment but it usually comes across as a little vague/unspecific. A typical content spam these days might look like:

“your information is really very helpful. I get some interesting knowledge from this article. you may also get important updates from mcafee customer service. keep sharing these type of important suggestions.”

Corporations who pay spammers

  • McAfee
  • Netgear
  • babasupport.org

A call to arms, dear Internet

Do me a favor. Visit https://chathelp.org/mcafee-support/ and chat with McAfee. Let them know that you don’t appreciate their paying for spammers. Let them know that this link was part of some unwanted content spam.

and now, a positive outlook on ad content

Since I no longer have an Office 365 subscription I find myself occasionally using their web-based version to fetch my email. How very annoying their galley ads have been lately. They’re too animated, they change faster than you could actually read them. They’re about as obnoxious as they could be.

Since I use Safari as my favorite browser, I just wrote a custom stylesheet to deal a blow to those unwanted ads. I’ve specifically targeted the ones usually delivered by Microsoft’s online Outlook website but it could be edited to remove other content you don’t wish to see.

safari-stylesheet

Safari -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Style Sheet:

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 12.16.38 PM

Result:

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 12.19.24 PM

remove ads from outlook

I find myself at the moment without a license for Office 365 and for the time being, I’m just using the web-based version of Outlook as found on outlook.live.com. This would probably be bearable only it’s a fair bit irritating to me with their frequent ad rotation/animations as seen in the right panel.

I’m guessing that people in marketing must think that if they’re not irritating, we won’t pay attention to them. But how should rudeness result in a sale? That just defies logic to me but that’s how they think now.

Adding Insult to Injury

Looking into this further, I can see that Microsoft is allowing third parties to track what I do, what I type, etc. I’ll be culling some of these abuses as well.

The Fix

Without further ado, I indicate the work-around to stop their ad server from functioning. I’ve given the instructions for OS X. For a Windows computer, you’d use Notepad to edit c:/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts instead.

$ nano /private/etc/hosts
127.0.0.1       ads.adacado.com adacado.com
127.0.0.1       lax1-ib.adnxs.com adnxs.com
127.0.0.1       aka-cdn.adtechus.com adtechus.com
127.0.0.1       a248.e.akamai.net
127.0.0.1       ads.scorecardresearch.com scorecardresearch.com
127.0.0.1       ol.at.atwola.com
127.0.0.1       pixel.advertising.com advertising.com

Initially, you’ll need to supply the you password. When finished adding these lines, you would enter Ctl-O, Enter and Ctrl-X and finally exit. Refresh in your browser and the ads should be gone.