Sunday, March 19, 2006

Of Rotten Canned Meat

There are a few certainties in each person's life: birth, death, taxes and...SPAM. (Even if a person never uses a computer or the internet, they still receive spam in the form of junk mail!) Yes, spam has become ubiquitous. Even more importantly, it's everywhere simultaneously. I'm beginning to wonder if spam isn't necessarily constrained by the space-time continuum.

The one thing about spam that really bothers me is that most such pieces aren't written very well. Each one seems chock-full of misspellings, incorrect grammer and lax or nonexistent punctuation. They seem to be the last reservoir of the famed dangling modifiers and run-on sentences.

I realize not everyone may be as discriminating as I am. However, if I receive a solicitation from someone and said solicitation is very poorly written, I'm immediately suspicious. I mean, if you want me to part with the little money I have, I think you should at least make the effort to present me with something readable!

Here's a piece of spam I received early this morning. It's unremarkable -- It's not much different from the thousands of others I've received. And, of course, it's poorly written. (I will denote some of the most glaring problems.)

I have a client that [not "that", but "who"] deposited a huge amount of money into our bank here in London [a period, comma or semi-colon is needed here] unfortunately he and his family was [were, not was] involved in the latest tsunami mayhem. The money is stuck here in the bank because all his next of kin died with him. [If he's dead, you no longer have a client.] What I don't like is to see the bank add it to their Billions. This money can be used for charity purposes of [or?] things like that. I must be frank [comma or period] I do not know you or anything about you. [comma, not a period] But I need somebody I can trust that I can front as his next of kin somebody far outside my area. [If you don't know me, how do you know you can trust me?] The money involved is $45,000,000.00. [Come on now! Who desposits $45 million dollars into a bank account?]

We can use $1,000,000.00 for incidental expenses and share 50% into two [does not make sense] for ourselves and the rest 50% [the "other' 50% or the rest OF THE 50%] can be given to [a] charity or Tsunami Victims [no needs for capitalization]. I will provide you with full information when you accept my offer. I am sorry I have to reach you this way, but due to the nature of my job [another missing comma] I have to hide my identity for now. I am also sending this email to some other people [yet another missing comma] in case you don't believe my story.

This is a risk free transaction and there is nothing to fear about [rather odd phrasing]. I will be in control of every process. [That's not very reassuring.] This is not a spam letter [If somebody feels the need to tell you it's not spam -- guess what? -- it's spam!]. Take it very serious.

Waiting for your Urgent [no need for capitalization] reply.

Best regards
Kem Purr
Do you have any spam you'd like to share?


  1. It appears that there is a Berchem somewhere in the US. Since I live in Berchem, Antwerp, Belgium, you can imagine the kind of spam I get ...
    Also the most famous once's: viagra, penis-enlargement, ...

    I've said up my own mailserver here at home to a quite agressive filter, but if I look at my quarantine box, I receive over 500 spammails a month.
    That's why I'll never spell my emailaddress with an @ in it, since that's where most spambots will look for when they are gathering.

  2. Until there is no money to be made in spam, we will continue to receive these annoyances.

    I read an article a few years ago of how an employee at Microsoft was making $50,000 a year working one or two hours a week sending out spam and buying/selling email addresses.

  3. Unfortunately, I have too much to share.

  4. Hi. You have a great blog here. I'll be stopping by again. I hope you'll stop by my blog for the best deals on __________.

    That's pretty much what I get, over and over and over...Thank God for comment moderation; they never see the light of day.

  5. Some time ago when I had neglected to clear my bulk file for several days, I found it had grown to 487 messages. Before deleting the whole mess, I picked out a few of them and wrote this poem.


    To save a buck on printer ink
    Or find my family's missing link,
    A patch or pill to lose some weight
    Or go out on a Christian date.

    To frame a meaningless diploma
    Or enjoy my own designed aroma,
    To buy a face-lift in a jar
    Or more insurance for my car.

    To wager in an e-casino
    Or book a freebie flight to Reno.
    Study to become a cop
    Or get paid in cash to eat or shop.

    Free credit cards, both gold and
    (Also comes in rare titanium)
    T-shirts with the face of Jesus
    Or help to write my Masters thesis.

    Hot hot girls with bosoms ample
    Or a free Viagra sample
    An e-detective who just can't wait
    To check e-habits of my mate.

    AND I REFUSE to choose:
    Coke or Pepsi, Big Mac or Whopper
    Or to become a mystery shopper
    To re-finance the family home
    Or pay someone to print my poem.

  6. Dino - that is a marvelous poem. Thank you!

    One of the strategies I use is to never use my regular email address(es) to apply for things, to register or do anything that is likely to expose me to the spam monsters. I keep a yahoo or hotmail account for this. I go visit them once every week or two just to see if I have gotten anything relevant. I can get up to 500 spam mails a week there.

    Also good, as someone suggested upthread, to avoid putting your email address on a web page or in the page source. Scramble it using javascript. (Google javascript scramble email for places that will do it for you instantly.)

    Spam will always be with us, given that it is such an incredibly cost-effective way to do business. If your response rate is even 1/100th of 1%, your return on investment is likely to be higher than even the least-expensive advertiserment via traditional media.


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