I’ve been thinking more about SPIT (Spam over Internet Telephony) today. I’ve written before that I didn’t see what the big deal is here, and most of the articles I’ve seen on it have seemed inaccurate and alarmist. But my thoughts on the topic are beginning to shift, and two things I noticed today are causing to me give more credence to the threat of SPIT.
First, I was catching up on some of my podcasting listening this morning, and caught the Blue Box interview with David Schwartz, CTO of Kayote Networks, in which he talked at length about his concerns around SPIT. While Schwartz admits we haven’t seen serious SPIT problems yet, he’s convinced it won’t be long before we do and has seen examples of the tools that can be used for this in action. Schwartz concludes that with the combination of free VoIP clients, free calling, and powerful spamming tools, it’s inevitable that the spammers and telemarketers will turn their attention to using Internet Telephony. He didn’t come off as overly alarmist and his points made a lot of sense.
Second, I noticed this post by Tom Evslin about receiving unwanted voice mail spam from Vonage promoting their upcoming IPO in his Vonage voice mail. Ken Camp succintly summarizes what’s so bad about this:
That SPIT would become a reality with a VoIP provider being the offender is a flagrant example of a vendor just not understanding how to treat customers.
I also have a Vonage account and although I received the same email offer that Tom speaks of, I haven’t received anything from them in my Vonage voice mail as he did, but I’m pretty sure I’d be just as annoyed as Tom is if I did. Unless your customers have specifically opted in to these kind of communications, I would strongly suggest that voice mail systems are not the place to communicate company offers and news.