McAfee promotes 30-day 'spam' diet

SANTA CLARA, CA: McAfee launched a global "30-day spam diet" campaign March 31 to point out the possible dangers of responding to spam e-mail.

SANTA CLARA, CA: McAfee launched a global “30-day spam diet" campaign March 31 to point out the possible dangers of responding to spam e-mail.

The effort, dubbed the “global S.P.A.M. (Spammed Persistently All Month) Experiment” will follow 50 participants for 30 days as they defy conventional wisdom by engaging with online spam. The campaign's Web site (www.mcafee.com/spamexperiment) showcases their experiences in blogs, podcasts, and digital videos.

The company worked with Red Consultancy on the initiative.

"What happens if you try to buy the Viagra or the stuff from the e-pharmacy?" said Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager for McAfee. "We really want to go beyond the message of spam is bad, protect yourself. We're going to illustrate the financial drivers behind the spammers."

McAfee will use the danger scenarios that emerge from the experiment to pitch ideas to consumer, business, and technology media, as well as bloggers, Marcus said.

McAfee hopes the campaign capitalizes on the public's interest in reality drama by demonstrating real-life consequences of spam, Marcus noted. He related it the 2004 “Super Size Me” documentary, calling it a "30-day spam diet."

Marcus said he believes McAfee's willingness to confront the dark side of the Web could enhance the brand's "coolness" factor.

To ensure the experiment doesn't go awry by causing real-life identity theft, or an equally-disastrous PR mishap, the company built in safeguards to protect its participants, Marcus said.

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