Naughty rabbits jumping to emails near you

With the Year of the Rabbit happily approaching, communications professionals look forward to another opportunity to connect with their customers. But is it always good practice to relentlessly ping your customers with Chinese New Year greetings, no matter how well-meaning?

We all wear shiny black mirrors and shredding huge bandwidth of generic text messages is simplicity itself. Just hit “send” – no hassle at all.

CDOs who value their communication skills urge caution. Think about your target audience: will their phones vibrate with New Year’s greetings from friends, family and your competitors?

100 billion

A source crunched the numbers for Gregorian New Year’s Eve 2020 and discovered a record number of messages of around 100 billion – on WhatsApp alone.

If you consider that the messaging platform (owned by the multinational technology conglomerate Meta Platforms) had 1.5 billion users at the time, that’s about 67 messages per user. While many consider it a personal communication platform, the service offers a business app used by countless small businesses – van Indonesian silversmiths to boutique German paint sellers.

Thanks to WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, we don’t know exactly what was in those New Year’s messages. But it’s a good bet that most of them just contain generic New Year’s wishes.

Cell phones fire ringtones and buzz like rattlesnake tails

Extrapolating from the user’s point of view, we imagine cell phones firing ringtones and buzzing like rattlesnake tails as the witching hour approaches. That figure of 100 billion represents ~13.3 times the world’s 2020 population.

During busy messaging periods, such as holidays, greetings, especially generic greetings, are often viewed as spam rather than cordial greetings.

And in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s a problem.


The pandemic has taught us about social distancing, but at the cost of social habits. Instead of meeting face-to-face, we learned to hoist fancy digital backdrops for our Zoom meetings.

And we have developed new forms of communication via mobile phones, such as contact tracing. “Contact tracers are usually hired by a state’s Department of Health,” a statement from the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission said. website. “They work with an infected person to get the names and phone numbers of anyone that infected person came into close contact with the potentially infectious person.”

COVID-19 boosted digital communication, including distasteful and unscrupulous text messages

While this was a useful strategy for detecting infectious diseases, as few knew about contact tracing prior to COVID-19, it proved ripe for exploitation by scammers. Remember that dodgy text messages prey on FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), and during the early days of the pandemic, a message pops up on cell phones warning that “someone you came into contact with has tested positive for COVID “. of the FUD alarms.

“Contact tracing plays a critical role in helping stop the spread of COVID-19,” the FTC said. “But scammers, posing as contact tracers and taking advantage of how the process works, also send spam text messages asking you to click on a link.” And as we all know, it is bad practice to click links in random text messages.

The costs count

COVID-19 has spurred many forms of digital communication, including, unfortunately, unsavory and unscrupulous text messages.

“Both spam calls and spam texts have increased in number over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 5.9 billion spam calls in June 2021 alone, an 11% increase,” said a article about digital trends. “Now it seems that text spam is on the rise, with many of us having had a barrage of suspicious-looking text messages lately.”

Watch out for the smish

Phishing scams were first discovered in the mid-1990s, but “as of 2020, it is the most common form of cybercrime, with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reporting more incidents of phishing than any other form of cybercrime.” also”, according to to Wikipedia. But that’s not bad enough: “SMS phishing or smishing is a type of phishing attack that uses text messages from a mobile phone or smartphone to deliver a bait message.”

“Smishing is a term used to describe phishing attempts and scams that use text messages or (Short Message Service) SMS as the primary attack platform,” the statement said. Verizon. “Smishing is used to collect various types of personal information, including address, credit card information and more.”

“Scam types vary, but all will try to trick you with lucrative offers (such as free prize money from a reputable retailer); trying to get you to disclose information or take action (by impersonating a friend or family member in need); or dangle false information on a transaction or account (such as a package delivery),’ Verizon said.

Think twice

More entities worldwide celebrate the Gregorian New Year than the Lunar New Year. But Asian communities around the world are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit — and families that haven’t been reunited since COVID will enjoy each other’s company.

It’s something worth remembering, but think twice before blasting a canned greeting to your entire user base. Due to holiday traffic, your good wishes can be relegated to the sin bin.

Gung hei thick choi!

Stefan Hammond is a contributing editor to CDOTrends. Best practices, the IoT, payment gateways, robotics and the ongoing fight against cyber pirates pique his interest. You can reach him at [email protected].

Image credit: iStockphoto/nicescene


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