What is Spim ?
Spammers tend to use all available means to deliver their annoying ads to unsuspecting users around the world. The most normal method, which we have all experienced, is by e-mail. It can also be by instant messaging like ICQ and Messenger. This phenomenon has been dubbed "spim".
Instant messaging is getting increasingly popular. A recent survey by Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that about 52 million Americans make use of instant messaging. And of all these instant messaging users almost a third - around 17 million - have received unwanted ads, spim or instant messaging spam.
According to the survey younger people are more likely to receive this particular kind of spam. Probably because they spend more time chatting with their friends.
Recently an 18-year old American was arrested for having sent large amounts of spim. The youngster is suspected of having sent more than 1.5 million ads. Among these were porn-ads.
He also threatened Myspace.com to make a deal with him, which would make his spim legal. It was these threats, that led to his arrest.
Many experts think that spim will eventually become a larger problem than normal spam sent by e-mail. The reason for this is many instant messaging systems have directories of their users, which contains information about the users age and sex.
This demographic information makes it easy for the spammers to target their "customers". Many users have, because of spim, chosen only to receive messages from people on their "buddy-list". A wise move ...
The first known spim was, by the way, sent in 2002 using Microsoft Windows Messaging service, which is a function in Windows allowing servers to send alerts to administrator workstations. Since then this particular kind of spam has found its way to ordinary instant messengers.