I was out with a friend last night and we got onto the subject of how it seemed difficult for smart people to take advantage of simple opportunities. I’ve both seen and been the guy who sees a market opportunity far ahead of the pack, moves quickly to seize the opportunity, but ultimately fails to make it.
The good news is that I’m developing a better understanding of why this happens and I’m going to tell all.
I have always wanted to beat “phishers” at their own game. Briefly, a phishing scam creates a page that looks like a legitimate site, requesting user name and password information. The scammers send phony requests via electronic mail under a variety of pretenses, urging customers to follow the enclosed link. Instead of going to your bank or eBay or PayPal, the link goes to their rogue server that looks like a legitimate site and the information is logged there for subsequent criminal activity.
As a rule, if everyone who received a phising attempt (or a mortgage solicitation for that matter) took the time to follow the link, then input bogus data, then the scam / solicitation would instantly be rendered ineffective. The criminals would be faced with sorting through thousands of garbage records in order to locate the actual victims.
Unfortunately as a society, we’re don’t do all that well at things that benefit the “collective good”, so we’re stuck with scams in our mailboxes.
But AJAX changes that.