Slow Days for Spam

Today’s later-than-usual post is brought to you by Bay Area traffic, which continues to get worse and worse. That actually has nothing to do with the post, but it did get me wonder: when Google sends a daily alert saying traffic is heavier than usual, does that represent a kind of grade inflation? Should they eventually rebase “normal”?

Moving on.

Do you know how long it’s been since I looked at blog spam? Not since December of 2015. That’s a long time, considering how much spam the blog gets. The thing is, entertaining spam is hard to come by these days. The overwhelming majority today is just a solid block of links. Not entertaining at all.

But every so often something worth a snicker shows up.

In fact, kiwis contain more nutrients per calorie than another fruit. Nutrition sets rapidly with spinach left inside dark refrigerator. Does eggs spoil At first they then were simple, such like a few twigs coming from a sacred grove, and food. Ever wondered why bananas will almost always be kept on hanger in markets and supermarkets. One on the biggest budget killers you may find after you own a cafe or restaurant is waste control.

“More nutrients per calorie”? Is that really something anyone pays attention to? Why would anyone think eggs don’t spoil? Has “smells like rotten eggs” for anything sulfurous dropped out of the language entirely? In what universe are twigs from a sacred grove simple? I would have thought the presence of divinity would complicate them immensely.

Does it all become clearer when you know the spammer was selling vodka and minced garlic? They both have some value in food preservation, which seems to be his main concern.

Hi there!
I honestly can’t think of any business that wouldn’t want their business in a tv commercial.
However its really expensive and so untargeted! BUT How many sales or customers do you think you will gain if you had a commercial running when they were LOOKING for your business?
[It goes on for several more paragraphs, but they don’t add anything other than the URL.]

Really? No businesses that wouldn’t want to be on TV? “Come on down to Crazy Earl’s for all your smuggling needs! Boat rentals! Tunneling equipment! Ten percent off your first bribe!” Nah.

Okay, so it’s harder to think of a legal business that couldn’t benefit from advertising. But this guy–he claims his name is Steve–certainly has an interesting idea of how targeted advertising works, doesn’t he? Do people really watch certain TV shows when they’re looking for a plumber? Or a doctor? And if targeted advertising is so great, why is he using untargeted ads to promote his service?

The real prize the latest batch of spam, though, is Laura. Not because her pitch is creative, but because she’s amazingly persistent. Laura works in email, rather than blog comments so she can make sure you see her messages.

Wesley Surber did a good write-up of Laura’s approach over at Campfire Chess. Aside from correcting a typo, the only difference between the email he got and the one she sent me was in the generic keyword.

Unlike Wesley, I ignored Laura’s message. Apparently that was a mistake. He never heard from her again. Not only did she send me a follow-up message three days later, but when I ignored that one, she sent a third missive a couple of days after that.

Still, at least Laura is polite. She says “Thank you,” which is more than most spammers do. And, hey, she respects the relation I have with you guys. Isn’t that good to know?

All in all, though, it’s not much of a haul for twenty months. I never thought I’d be nostalgic for creative spam.

3 thoughts on “Slow Days for Spam

  1. I actually find spam kind of interesting, and wish I knew more about the phenomenon. It comes in so many varieties, from the old “Nigerian Finance Minister”, to the occasional deluge of offers to quicken my thinking or enlarge (or shrink) some part of my body.
    I think I understand the economics of it: if I send out millions of posts (at no cost to me), and one tenth of one percent respond, that is likely to be a significant sum, plus (as I understand it), I can sell the addresses of those who respond in some way to other spammers.
    So, it’s a living. What I do wonder, sometimes, is how I sometimes seem to hit a trip wire that triggers dozens of the same spam message (slightly re-worded and from different addresses, so my filter can’t catch them), for a few weeks. They’re pretty innocuous- some kind of vitamin supplement to help me think faster- which sounds like speed to me- and after a few weeks of up to ten daily, they stop coming. But, why the multiple postings? Do they think, if they keep offering I’m going to change my mind, or am I just not understanding their actual purpose?
    As I say, I find these things interesting, and I don’t really mind getting them. I find them an interesting commentary on our culture, and the state of the internet in general.
    Hey, maybe it’s time to resurrect the “Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe”. I know; that’s a hoax, not a scam, but here it is, anyway. Enjoy.
    https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9465-the-250-cookie-recipe

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    • As I understand it, the piece of the puzzle you’re missing is that spammers get their lists of addresses to hit from multiple sources. And given the economies of the profession, it doesn’t make economic sense to take the time to remove duplicates. Get list, send messages, lather, rinse, repeat. So you’ll often get multiple copies of the same message, both clustered together and over the course of the spammer’s run.

      And yes, you can sell your list, but again, why bother cleaning it up? You’re being paid for x addresses per dollar, so the more you’ve got, the more money you make. And if nine-tenths are duplicates or don’t exist, so what? It’s not like anyone’s going to check up and demand a refund.

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      • Ah. Makes sense now. All those addresses for the same message are not some wily ‘bot’s work, they’re just indicating multiple sources, and the fact that they come in waves indicates that my address was picked up, somewhere, and made available to all comers, who then post as soon as they can. Thanks. One less thing about which to be puzzled.

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