Last week I received a message offering a 30% discount on Norton Internet Security 2006. It claimed to be from Symantec, but the email address was at, and all the links—including the ones that claimed to be at—went to

Now 5 minutes of research turns up the facts that Symantec does work with Digital River and Digital River owns Blue Hornet. And it did go to the address I used to register Norton Antivirus last year. So it’s probably a legit offer.

But let’s think about this for a minute.

Assuming it’s legit, Symantec—a company that deals in internet security—is deliberately sending out offers via third-party domains, email and web servers. Depending on how security-conscious you are, they are either making their messages look suspicious or training users to ignore warning signs.

Or have you never seen spam offering enormous discounts on Norton products? Which generally turn out to be pirated. And I seem to recall—though I can’t find an article to back it up—that the bootleg copies are often infected themselves, or crippled in some way.

Given how many shady operators are out there, taking advantage of the big guys’ name recognition, you’d think the big guys would at least make some effort to make their own offerings look less, well, shady.