Some rumors just don't want to die. So on this page I've singled out the ten most common for special attention. While most of these rumors also appear on the ICQ Lies Collection pages, the commentary on this page is all new. I get at least one of these e-mailed to me everyday, and quite frankly I'm getting tired of seeing them. So while I don't expect to be able to kill off all the rumors on ICQ, I would really like to see these get buried.
Why stop with ICQ version 3? Don't download Windows93 either, it could have a virus in it. Hey wait a minute... Window93 never existed. Nor does ICQ version 3. For those of you new to ICQ, the first version of ICQ was 1.0, and it continued up to 1.113, but they never made a version 2 or 3, changing the name to ICQ98 with the latest major release. So how can you get virus from software that has never been made? It is possible that some low life made a fake program and named it ICQ version 3, but I've never seen it. The URL that was originally being passed with this rumor is invalid, it points to a file on a hard drive, not a location on the net. There is a lesson to be learned here, never download any version of ICQ that isn't from Mirabilis, TuCows or Download.com... those are the only legitimate sources for ICQ.
Let's do a little math (don't panic, I'll crunch the numbers for you). If I were to send 50 ICQs a day, times 365 days in a year, that's 18,250 messages times $0.10 each... YIKES!!! That's $1,825 a year! Whoa... no way I'm going to pay that much, I could just call most of my friends long distance for a dime a minute. Which is part of the reason why you'll never be paying by the message. Besides that, when you send a message to someone who is online, the message is passed directly to them, not through an ICQ server (usually). So there is not much point in charging by the message.
Now let's look at the second part of that rumor where you are asked to vote. Many of the rumors ask you to forward a message to "vote." Lately there have been several websites asking you to "vote to keep ICQ free." Let me clue you in on something. Around the middle of 1997 Mirabilis did their own poll of ICQ users asking if they were willing to pay for the service or if it should remain free. Guess what? "Free" won in a landslide (editorial comment: WELL DUH!). Folks, the polls have been closed for over a year, the results are in and ICQ will remain FREE. It is as pointless to continue with these silly polls as it would be to ask you to cast your vote for Kennedy vs. Nixon. Mirabilis knows you don't want to pay for ICQ and they are not going to ask you to (AOL knows it, too). So the next time someone asks you to "vote to keep ICQ free," drop 'em an e-mail saying you vote for them as "Dumb Ass of the Year" for trying to waste your time.
Well I *will* be mad at you for sending me this message because it isn't "real," no one has ever received an e-mail from Mirabilis saying they will be billing $45 (or any other amount) a year (or month, week, day, etc.) and they never threaten to terminate anyone for not sending a message. So please DON'T send this message or any like it to anyone on your contact list, you will just be spreading a false rumor and annoying the people who know better (while scaring those who don't).
This brings up an interesting question. What should you do when you get a false rumor? Some people just close the message and forget about it. Others may send a warning to the sender and then put them on the ol' Ignore List. The problem with either of these approaches is that the poor misinformed soul who is forwarding rumors will continue to send them. If you really want to put a stop to these rumors then take a moment to write back to the sender and explain that they have been deceived and are doing everyone on their list a disservice by continuing to spread false statements. If you don't have time for explanations or if they argue with you, just send them here (http://surf.to/the.truth). That is what this site is here for, to help you convince your friends to stop forwarding rumors. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away, you'll just end up with a very long Ignore List and possibly miss out on getting to know some very nice people. So when you get a chain message, please help break the chain and ICQ will be a better place for all of us.
March 30, 1998? The people who keep forwarding this message should take their $5.00 and go buy a calendar. I've been asked how I know these are false rumors. Well, I didn't forward that message to anyone and I certainly didn't send $5 to Mirabilis... yet all my accounts are still active. Draw your own conclusion. But some anti-social jerk is going to change the date and start this rumor all over again, and many of the new ICQ users are going to see it for the first time and believe it. That is why these rumors won't die... unless you help to kill them (note: I'm referring to killing the rumors, not the new users... though I suppose that would also work *WEG*).
Did someone say BROWNIES? I wish someone would send me some brownies, all this rumor busting is making me hungry. But I digress. You can't get "brownie points" from forwarding messages anymore that someone can send you real brownies through ICQ (at least they can't be sent through the current version, but you never know what those wizards at Mirabilis will come up with next *grin*).
As I write this it is the month of June, 1998. Let me dust off my trusty crystal ball and predict the future one month from now. I see a vision... there are people sitting at computers all over the world... they are sending messages to each other through ICQ... and not one of them have been asked to pay $12.95. Now we'll just have to wait and see if my crystal ball really works, but I have total confidence in it. In fact, I wager you $12.95 that I'm right. If Mirabilis starts to charge $12.95 I'll pay for your first month, otherwise you owe me $12.95. Any takers?
A "clean up" sounds like a good idea to me, I see some of you online 24/7... don't you ever take a shower? Anyway, while I'm sure Mirabilis would like everyone to practice good hygiene, they will never ask you to forward any message on their behalf. How can I be so certain of this you ask? Well, this statement from their website offers a clue:
"We never ask our users to send us ANY information or to forward any messages."
Can we all please try to remember this simple statement from Mirabilis, it would significantly cut down on the number of forwarded rumors. You don't even have to check my ICQ Lies pages. If the message says you have to forward it "or else" then it is not from Mirabilis because, as you just read, they will never send out a message like that. No charges and no ultimatums... got it?
This isn't just a false rumor, it is an entire class of false rumors. I've seen this message with six different UINs. Not one of them was a "main computer." I have a little fun with these rumors on the Update page, but for now you should know that like the other "you must forward this or else" messages, these are all a pack of lies.
Guess what? I'm really the infamous RoyalKnight/ArcAngel and while you've been reading this page I've been formatting your hard drive! MUHAHAHAhaaaa!!! See? At first I was nice and then I turned nasty. *wicked evil grin*
If you are starting to sweat at this point I have good news for you... I'm not RoyalKnight, I'm DiamondBack and I'm usually a pretty nice guy. Your hard drive is perfectly safe while you read this page (though I may play with your mind occasionally).
So what about the real RoyalKnight, will he send you viruses? The truth is, I don't know, I've never met the guy. But I wouldn't worry about him too much. Now I'm going to give you the most important tip you may ever get on the Internet.
Remember how your parents used to tell you to "never take candy from a stranger?" Well the Internet version of that warning is "never run an executable file from a stranger." Common examples of executables are those with file extensions such as EXE, COM and BAT. If you get a file with any of those extensions (the letters after the ".") then look out, you could be putting yourself at risk. Other files with extensions like TXT, JPG, GIF, AVI, MPG, WAV and so on are not executable file types, they are data type files and perfectly safe to open (see the update link below for more information on file types). Now I know someone is going to try to argue with me, but unless you can PROVE your point, don't even bother. I've been working with computers for about 15 years and I know the difference between harmless data and potentially dangerous executable code. And until you allow code to RUN, it is harmless. So to be safe, don't run executable code unless it comes from a reputable source (eg. TuCows, Download.Com, etc.).
UPDATE: For additional info about viruses and executable files, please see The Importance of File Extensions.
Once again we have an entire class of rumor. This message keeps getting passed around with different names and UINs. In a few cases I have met the people mentioned and they have all turned out to be innocent victims of some anonymous jerk's smear campaign. Anyone can become a victim of one of these messages, all someone has to do is insert YOUR name and number and click the forward button... presto, YOU'RE an infamous hacker. And that is why you should never forward unsubstantiated rumors like this, because you could be the next victim.
On a couple of occasions I have received this rumor and asked the sender if they knew the person mentioned. When they wrote back and said they didn't, I sent the rumor back to them... with THEIR NAME and UIN in place of the originals then asked again if they knew the person mentioned. It got the point across, anyone can become a victim.
But what if someone really is spreading a virus or other harmful program? Well, remember the advice not to run executable programs from strangers? That is all you really need to know. Sending out a true warning won't help, the person sending the malicious code could get a new handle and UIN every day if they wanted to. Have you ever signed-up for a new UIN? It takes about five minutes, costs nothing and you can use any name you want to. So what use is it to send out a warning about EvilHacker at UIN 12345678 when in five minutes he could be NiceGuy at UIN 87654321?
Now this one pisses me off. It is one thing for some anonymous low life to start a rumor, but here is what is supposed to be a reputable company (Gamesmania) that is publishing a false rumor as news. I've taken the liberty of removing the last part of the URL because they have a revenue generating ad banner on that page and I don't care to send them any visitors from my site. Their article starts off regurgitating the usual quotes from press releases from Mirabilis and AOL, giving it an air of credibility, then they throw this garbage in:
Sources inside AOL, eh Gamesmania? The same "sources" that start the rumors flying on ICQ? I don't suppose if those sources turn out to be wrong that you are going to donate the money you make off that ad banner to charity, are you?
Okay people, I'm going to ask you to think for yourselves for a moment. How many of you will pay $20 for three months or $50 for a year to use ICQ and then have a limit put on the number of contacts you can authorize? Let's have a show of hands. *looks around* I don't see anyone raising their hand. So if these "sources" are telling the truth then in the next few months Mirabilis/AOL are going to shoot themselves in the head? I don't think so. Both Mirabilis and AOL know they can't charge for ICQ... just as Gamesmania knows they can't charge their members for access to their site. So they make their money by running ad banners. It wouldn't surprise me to see ad banners appear on the Mirabilis site, but they know better than to lose all the members it has taken them years to attract by attempting to charge for membership.
Shame on you, Gamesmania. You should stick to reporting on subjects you know something about rather than spreading panic through the ICQ community... and making a buck at expense of Mirabilis's reputation as a free service.
"Version 3" of ICQ doesn't have a virus in it because it doesn't exist.
Mirabilis has not announced any plan to charge for ICQ. It is unlikely they ever will, but if it were to happen you would not hear about it from a rumor message, you would receive a System Message (UIN #1) from Mirabilis and it will be posted on their website. Until you see it there, regard any rumor to the contrary as being false.
There is no point in "voting to keep ICQ free" since Mirabilis has already taken a poll and concluded that they can't charge for membership. Websites that ask you to vote are just trying to rack-up hits and are wasting your time.
You can't stop rumors by ignoring them. Write back to the people who send them and break the chain.
Mirabilis is not "cleaning up" inactive accounts. There are billions of UINs available and none are ever recycled.
Mirabilis will never ask your to forward a message or send any info to them. Any message from them will come as a System Message, not a forwarded message. Do not forward anything on their behalf, it will always be a false message.
Warnings about hackers are usually false and always a waste of time. Chances are you're contributing to harming an innocent person's reputation when you forward those warnings... and you could be next.
Don't run programs (exe, com & bat) received from unknown sources. Running executable files that haven't been checked for viruses is like having unprotected sex with a stranger... you never know what you could get. The person you get the file from may not even be aware the file is infected, so just because they would never intentionally harm you doesn't make a file safe.
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