Are the bad guys winning?

tron bad guy

A few months ago, my blog was a target for a denial of service attack. What this meant was that a “bot” was set up by somebody (in this case a person in The Netherlands) to hit my site over and over so many times that readers cannot access the blog.

It was a random attack and this might seem like a pretty dumb business plan, but apparently a lot of companies are obsessed with breaking into my site … and probably yours too. The result was that I had to spend many hours and thousands of dollars to recover from the problem and guard against future attacks.

My hosting company set up an app that would send me an alert when somebody tried to log into my site five times in a row, I had to turn off these notifications when they started arriving every five minutes. That’s right. New attacks were occurring hundreds of times a day! That gives you some idea of the relentless barrage of bad stuff coming at our websites.

More seriously, some of these bad guys are getting through. You have probably read recently about a number of bloggers turning off their comments because of the new spam attacks that are getting through to their blogs. Anecdotally, it seems in the past few weeks more people are also suffering from websites that are hacked or crash under denial of service attacks. And of course, there have been several high-profile stories about companies experiencing serious data breaches that compromise their customers.

All this makes me wonder … Are the bad guys winning?

In our latest Marketing Companion Podcast, Tom Webster and I explore this topic and much more. In fact, we begin with an enlightening discussion about the diplomatic opportunities for American bacon but then also get into:

  • Are we seeing smarter spammers or the unintended consequences of Internet complexity?
  • Does Google actually play an indirect role in spam attacks on small businesses?
  • What is the business cost to keeping the bad guys away?
  • Highlights from the new book Social Media Explained
  • A trick to get to the heart of social media strategy
  • New thoughts on measuring social media marketing ROI
  • A discussion on who should be leading your social media marketing effort

Ready to listen to this discussion? It couldn’t be easier to do. Simply click here:

Link to podcast.

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  • PeterJ42

    Yes, the bad guys are winning. But they aren’t who you think.

    The old marketing in new bottles people are winning. The ones who say “You don’t have to change, just automate your marketing”. Who say “Selling is still selling, now it is just social”.

    The reality is that in a connected world, people want to talk to the person who knows, not the person who sells. Salespeople are a barrier to building those relationships.

    Marketing is also a barrier. “Instead of answering your questions, we’re going to tell you our stuff.” Again.

    The problem is that this message has more resonance than yours and mine. Because these companies want to believe it will all be OK in the end.

    But it won’t. There are fast moving companies coming up to take their place. Change doesn’t usually happen because everyone adapts. It happens because those who don’t die out, leaving those who did to take their place.

  • OMG a “Hamsterdam” reference! But then I expect nothing less… Mark, you need to binge-watch The Wire immediately.

  • What was that remark about Canadian bacon? We have GREAT bacon…and maple syrup…and meatloaf, haha! 🙂 Another great, enjoyable podcast, and Tom – you’re a very good Larry King. I’m sending you 40 bucks. Cheers! Kaarina

  • I guess I’m curious as to what you actually think the subject of this podcast : ) Interesting points nonetheless

  • I can either blog or watch TV. I can’t do both : ) I am not exactly the go-to person on popular culture. I am usually a week behind the meme!

  • I judge the bacon in Canada less harshly than Tom and yet there is still an undeniable opportunity to build relations between our countries through cured meats. And meatloaf of course.

  • PeterJ42

    We have two problems with blogs.
    One is DoS and similar. Fixable with the right security.

    The other – and it is a bigger problem – is a barrage of misinformation by old-fashioned marketers and salespeople who have dreamed up a new name for their spin.

    We are seeing a barrage of old stuff dressed up as new, given the hype that only big corporations can. It is an attempt to swamp out the message of what is new by the message that it is OK to use the old methods you are comfortable with. A DoS attack on the new methods and the changes we all need to make.

    It is seeping round the firewall here.

  • Gordon Diver

    Unfortunately, the cost of doing business has increased for those looking to build meaningful relationships through blogging and our social networks. I understand why some firms have decided to shut them off and really felt for Ray when his site was hit. Likely more of us will move to moderated comments as Tom noted to manage what we can. Great discussion. Next time your in the land of maple, we’ll have to ensure you make it to a farmer’s market for your Canadian Bacon fix 😉

  • That is the best offer I have had this week my friend! Look forward to meeting you soon!

  • Robin Martin

    Great podcast Mark! I agree with you 100% about not turning off blog comments. It’s all about the relationships…this makes you very real and human! That’s one reason I follow your blog, consistently read your stuff as well as your books! Kudos to you my friend!

  • I’m going to suggest that my whole department read your new book Mark! I’ve been recently put “in charge” of our Social Media efforts…but I still just can’t get everyone “on board!” That is, with the exception of our newest employee who just turned 26! She “gets it!”

  • First off I want to congratulate you for having such an awesome image at the top of this post!
    I don’t think the bad guys are winning as long as I can most usually come to your site, read your content, and leave a comment.
    They may make it harder but in the end good will prevail!!!

  • Gordon Diver

    It would be my absolute pleasure. Looking forward to meeting soon as well.

  • Thank you for the kind words and support Robin!

  • Well, I really think the new book will help. This is what it is intended to do! if you (or anybody) needs a bulk order of 20 copies or more I can help with a discounted price Robin.

  • Thanks for noticing the image!

    I think that is a very good measure of progress. The only one for me, maybe! Thanks for the kind comment Blake!

  • My host got attacked this month. I’m grateful they stood in the breach, because I couldn’t pay thousands. I am glad you stood firm.

    In an odd twist, the post targeted by spam comments is a graphic I got from here. The comments are pretty hilarious and only a few have gotten through my filters. There was a short period where I was getting several spam comments a day on that post. I wonder if it is related somehow. What punks some people can be.

  • Sounds great! Thanks again!

  • You’re very welcome!

  • Yikes so sorry to hear that my friend. What a weird world we are in. Who are these people?

  • I don’t think I need to worry too much about this, but I sincerely hope that you never close commenting. It’s a huge part of the social part of blogging.

  • Selfishly, blog comments are the favorite part of my day. It would take something cataclysmic for me to turn them off.

  • Oh, no worries! It was a great graphic. Your Ten Maxims one. I got lots of good, legitimate shares from it.

    I had to laugh, I had one today asking me where my contact page was. I didn’t respond, but it’s, um, right there on the navigation. Called “contact?” They seem to be trying hard to make the comments “real.” Here’s a thought. Put all that effort into being real people doing real things. LOL

    This last week has been bad for viruses, too. A lot of people on my email list seem to be succumbing to a virus called News or something. Email management is a challenge, too.

    But–I think the bad guys only win if we give up. So I’m glad you’re a fighter. 🙂

  • Pingback: How to Stop Spam Comments & Fake Users in WordPress()

  • Good to know!

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