I’ve always thought organisations that sell their ‘software solutions’ entirely on the basis of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt should on principle be shunned by all right-thinking CIOs and IT managers. Of course, there is a certain amount of FUD that software solutions have to combat, but sales should primarily be made to deliver quantifiable returns on investment (and I recognise that is not always an easy calculation).
It’s therefore a pleasure to see that Microsoft and Washington State’s Attorney General have filed lawsuits against scam artists who frighten consumers into buying useless software, and I hope these scam organisations are stopped.
The scary message, though, is this: ‘A recent report from North Carolina State University showed that most internet users are unable to tell the difference between genuine and fake pop-up messages. “This study demonstrates how easy it is to fool people on the web,” said co-author Dr Michael S Wogalter, professor of psychology. Despite being told some of the messages were fake, people hit the OK button 63% of the time.’
In other words, FUD will sadly be an effective sales tactic for so long as people allow themselves to be duped. Awareness and training become an ever more essential aspect of preparing people – consumers and employees – for what they will find on the Web.