I’ve been percolating the idea of a post on spam for a week or so now and I’ve been studiously gathering information and links in my del.icio.us page (I’ve even gone back and checked it once in a while!).
When I woke up today, bleary eyed and decidedly not bushy tailed, thanks to an evening at my girlfriend’s cousins, I checked the blog to find more than fifteen spam comments or trackbacks had found their insidious way in.
When I initially encountered spam it was nothing more than an inconvenience of having to sign up for many, many things on-line. So I used my old email (pre-work) address as a dead letter box. I still check firstname.lastname@example.org in case someone didn’t see my own email telling people I had a new, more professional email address. I spammed people to tell them I was unspammable – ironic huh?
Then I started a job and spam became an amusement. We had had a client for more than seven years and so the email@example.com address received more than its fair share of spam including some particularly nasty Japanese porn.
Now I have a blog however, I’m starting to sympathize with Neville over his “war on spam” – he takes the rather bleak view that it’s relentless and unstoppable. And obviously spam works. Enough people must respond to it for it to be a viable “business” model but I have no idea why someone would take the unsolicited financial advice of a stranger or why some of the spam that’s left on my blog is effective anywhere.
For me, my personal gripe on spam is that it’s so poorly written. If I’m going to acquiesce to a Saudia Arabian prince or Nigerian bank manager, I’m going to expect a level of grammatical correctness that I’m just not seeing in today’s spam – are today’s spammers even trying to be convincing anymore? Incidentally, my mother once had the great idea of connecting the prince to the bank manager but I told her it was probbaly best to not get involved at all.
I don’t really have enough time to try what Danny does with some of his spam but if you do – good luck.
To end things off, here’s a link that shows just how effective spam can be, from BBC News. Apparently good spammers can see a return on investment of around six per cent from a week or so of investment. Compounded and combined with a news release that goes out on the newswires, and I’m almost contemplating quitting my new job for life as a nefarious shyster. Although some would say that’s pretty much what I’m doing now!
And for a more complete history of spam, I give to you, for your viewing pleasure, Steven Colbert via Todd Andrlik.
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