Now I've seen everything.
We understand, instinctively, that whenever a new medium is invented, people will use it for nefarious purposes. And so, given the deluge of junk mail that we've been facing for years, it should come as no surprise that email became filled with spam. The sending cost is reduced to nothing, and so the vast proliferation was only to be expected.
Robots or virus-infected users in chatrooms will spam-post a random website that they are advertising. This doesn't bother me too much, as aside from my occasional video game dalliances, I'm never in chatrooms.
But things got worse. I saw someone on Livejournal complaining about the fact that a Spambot had commented on their page. This is an irritating development, and talking with another friend online, I learned that Spambots in his guestbook had forced him to take it down.
Today, I saw the next level of spam. A random person sent me an instant message to say, "Check this out: [URL]". When I replied to ask for identification, the person logged off. Out of morbid curiosity, I lopped the .php part off of the URL he had given and typed in the site's main .com URL. Sure enough, it immediately attempted to install something on my computer. I'm guessing it was a virus, which means that webpages might now exist solely for the purpose of installing a virus on your computer.
And how did this fellow get my IM handle? Unlike my email address, my IM handle isn't published on websites, nor listed in any AOL index-- I selected the AIM option that specifically says not available for random chatters. I had the spambot-beset friend do a whois search on the main website. I'd urge you not to visit the website, because it will attempt to install malicious code on your computer. Special non-tech translation in case a family member is reading this: Website bad! Kill computer! You no go!
But, according to the lookup, the website (wgutv dot com) is registered to a Drew Williams whose phone is listed as 617-661-4664 and whose registered email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm sure those are office contacts, so using them won't harrass the fellow at home. And it's conceivable that the site is just spam and not virus-spreading spam, though I wouldn't advise you to test that out. But I'm still irked that the spam has come this far.