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The Hoax Was On Me

By Ron Kimball
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004

As an e-zine publisher, you strive to do the right thing by your subscribers.

When you find an interesting link, you pass it on. When you write or read an informative article, you print it. When you get a piece of information that could benefit your readers, naturally you make it known to them.

But, sometimes the inevitable happens and the percentages of good/bad information catch up to you.

They did for me.

Recently, I fell prey to a *deadly virus* hoax.

It was sent to me by a credible source and I sent it to my subscriber list via my list server.

These types of hoaxes serve no purpose except to confuse and confound people, causing only worry.

Of course, they can perpetuate themselves in the form of emails that are sent in REPLY from unsuspecting readers. They click on their REPLY button and then hit SEND and emails begin to do the *Hippy Hippy Shake* and bounce repeatedly from one email box to the next.

I'm not sure of the extent of the bounced emails or if any damage occurred but I know it caused a ruckus. I received minimal comments chastising my action, although, in retrospect, I probably deserved more.

I sent out an apology to list members after discovering my blunder. Surprisingly, the reactions were largely supportive and forgiving.

Here are samples of some of the comments:

"Nice to know you're "one of us"." --Roger

"Better to err on the side of caution than not at all." --Comet

"The 2 virus' you have listed are very well know hoaxes. Just by spamming the warning you have propagated the hoax just as a virus would have. Shame on you! Do your research before you send out warnings." --Shelly

"Hey, we all get "caught" once in a while! No apology needed, you were only thinking in our best interests!" --Sherry

"I also did the same thing once." --Marion

"And Add To The List: The Homepage Virus Is Doing The rounds again." --Michael

"Please check out any "virus warning" you receive. Most are hoaxes." --Sharon

"Thanks for the information. It is better to be safe, and warn your friends and customers, than to be sorry!" --Ben

"You were trying to do the right thing and that's all that matters." --Cindy

I'm not aware of any unsubscribes due to my snafu but I did get an online greeting card to cheer me up.

I learned 2 things from this incident:

1) Treat people right and they will return it tenfold. --Treat them as you would be treated.

2) Investigate any and all unknown virus claims. --It only takes a couple of minutes to check out a virus warning to see if it's real or not.

The word *propagate* is defined as: to transmit (characteristics) from one generation to another; to breed or multiply.

Check out these useful and informative sites before you unknowingly propagate a *deadly virus*:

( ( (

So, take it from a *former email viral propagator victim*, investigate that next virus warning before you send it out, and see if it's on the list.

Otherwise, the hoax will be on you.

About the Author
Ron Kimball lives in Nashville, TN--Music City USA with his wife and son. He is a songwriter and demo singer for both country and pop writers. He also publishes the popular home based business e-zine, LeaderZKorner, which is geared toward home based business owners. LeaderZKorner is published weekly with an accompanying Weekend FREE AD Supplement. For a FREE subscription: (


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