Can We Save The Internet Before It’s Too Late?
When I was first introduced to the Internet by Ty Roden (my longest time friend of over 32 years), I was amazed. It showed such incredible potential! I had no idea at the time that the Internet would later become a place in which I work each and every day. In those very early days, I thought it was the “wild west” but I was wrong. Back then it truly was just a wilderness. In that wilderness, however, were a lot of well-intentioned people who helped each other out. Back in those days, the Internet community could “self-police” bad actors or even noobs who made mistakes and spammed Usenet groups (a story which I will leave for another day). But over time it has grown much, much darker. Some would say it is time we gave serious thought about whether we can save the internet before it’s too late. It has truly become the epitome of the “wild west.” Still exciting, but unruly. Lawlessness prevails. Spam, scams, and now the scourge of all time: Phishing, Spear Phishing, Smishing, Data Breaches, Identity Theft, and Ransomware attacks.
Scams are Ruining our Internet Community
There is little or nothing that government officials can do to protect our beloved Internet. Nothing they can do to save the internet from the overseas scourge that attacks our friends, families, clients, and businesses. The issues are too complex. The threats cross across global borders, making enforcement and punishment of these crimes nearly impossible. I have personal knowledge of the damage that scams can do to hard-working, good people. The negative financial impacts are astounding:
- The average financial cost of a data breach is $3.86m (IBM)
- Phishing accounts for 90% of data breaches
- 15% of people successfully phished will be targeted at least one more time within the year
- BEC scams accounted for over $12 billion in losses (FBI)
- Phishing attempts have grown 65% in the last year
- Around 1.5m new phishing sites are created each month (Webroot)
- 76% of businesses reported being a victim of a phishing attack in the last year
- 30% of phishing messages get opened by targeted users (Verizon)
One BEC (Business Email Compromise) scam can devastate a small business, put decades of work and effort of hard-working people in the trash overnight. It’s utterly terrifying. Ransomware can kill a small business in one fell swoop. Here today, gone in an instant.
Effects on Individuals
But that’s only one aspect of this lawless wild west. The above statistics are only business-related. The personal attacks are even greater.
“In its annual Internet Crime Report, the FBI reports the IC3 received 351,937 complaints in 2018—an average of more than 900 every day. The most frequently reported complaints were for non-payment/non-delivery scams, extortion, and personal data breaches. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and investment scams, which can include Ponzi and pyramid schemes.
- Reports came in from every U.S. state and territory and involved victims of every age. There was a concentration of victims and financial losses, however, among individuals over the age of 50.
- “The 2018 report shows how prevalent these crimes are,” said Donna Gregory, chief of the IC3. “It also shows that the financial toll is substantial, and a victim can be anyone who uses a connected device. Awareness is one powerful tool in efforts to combat and prevent these crimes. Reporting is another. The more information that comes into the IC3, the better law enforcement is able to respond.”
The impacts on the elderly are even more astounding, and because of their age, they are nearly impossible to recover from. CNBC reports that the elderly are scammed out of nearly $3 billion every year. This is insane.
A Different Problem but a Similar Solution to Save the Internet
Imagine a family member or friend working their entire life and now in the sunset of their life, they are financially devastated because an overseas scammer took what they worked so hard to achieve. We are working hard to reduce poverty in our local community but not to see that years later it’s all wasted effort.
The solution is similar. It’s about education and awareness. As the FBI said above “Awareness is one powerful tool in efforts to combat and prevent these crimes.” Just like a person would be grateful in the days of the wild west of a friend saying (say this next phrase with a southern accent) “that there path is dangerous, just saw a group of outlaw hooligans just over that there hill!” We need to provide guidance, warnings, and education to everyone we can about these incredibly devastating events that can happen in a flash. We all think it won’t be us.
We’re marketers, right? We know how to get the word out about products and services using all the latest tools and tricks of the Internet. We can sell the proverbial “ice to an Eskimo”, “salt to a slug” or “a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white”. We have the power to influence behavior. We know how to utilize messaging, content marketing, social media, SEO, SEM, email campaigns, and whatever else comes down the pike.
We educate people every day!
It’s time that we put that power and knowledge to use. It’s time that we also help people stop losing money rather than just making money. It’s our responsibility. My Internet, Your Internet, OUR Internet is being ransacked by criminal thugs that take money from innocent people, hardworking people, businesses, individuals, and worse yet senior citizens who don’t completely understand this “newfangled” technology. We might not be able to be the “sheriffs” of this wild west (perhaps vigilantes if you are anonymous material) but we certainly can be the town criers!
That! Company is going to lead the way in this Global initiative to “Save the Internet.” Much like we assembled businesses to fight poverty here in our local community we are going to endeavor to assemble businesses and marketers all over the globe to fight against online scams and educate everyone we possibly can against this threat to our greater community. While we haven’t fully fleshed out this idea. It weighs on my mind nearly every day.
The Vision Within a Vision
I created a vision for our company – now for a greater vision within a vision: “To achieve a day where Internet scams are no longer effective”
- To assemble the world’s greatest Internet Marketers under a single banner with a focus on achieving the vision.
- To leverage the amazing skills of thousands of Internet Marketers working together.
- To break or set the world record for the largest-ever Internet Marketing Campaign measured through unique impressions.
It’s Selfish – But That’s Not a Bad Thing
Hey, Internet Marketer, this is for you: Imagine for a moment if we just wiped out $3 Billion of the Senior scams alone. That’s $3 billion that re-enters the marketplace that could be spent on products and services offered by all our clients. We’ve just increased the market size for all of our clients. Yet, $3 Billion is a drop in the bucket. If we wiped out BEC scams our B2B marketing brothers would have a huge market increase as well. The list of scams and scam types is endless, meaning the increases we can create in the overall market is endless. This helps us all. Our clients get to create and sell more products. We get the benefits of helping our clients win. Yep, it’s selfish, but it’s the right thing to do.
For Our Internet.