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SPAM - Simplified

There are 187 e-mails in your Inbox
3 are from people you know

Hi, I'm Scott. I'm a middle-aged, white male with a penis that doesn't satisfy his woman, loves masturbating to dirty web-cam broadcasts as long as the performer's husband is away, and I need a better mortgage rate. At least I'm assuming that's me, or at least my e-marketing profile, because that's the SPAM I receive. I can also buy cheap Canadian drugs, which is funny because I'm Canadian and I don't have to buy them at all.

In case you're unaware, SPAM is the electronic version of junk mail, although the electronic version varies a bit from its snail-mail counterpart in subtle ways. For instance, in my snail-mailbox I get Dominos coupons and adverts for various services such as carpet-cleaning and duct-work. My Inbox receives SPAM and contains coupons and adverts for services as well but the coupons I get are to buy pills which will increase the size, and in some cases firmness, of Little Scott and the adverts offer services such as watching lonely web-cam girls get off for me (and me alone presumably) and having my credit report cleaned up. By the way, I receive much more SPAM involving web-cams and my jimmy than I do SPAM involving bank loans and credit reports. To a large extent, SPAM is built on porn ('p0rn' if you read SPAMmese).

Unlike tried and true marketing techniques, there is no statistical analysis done in the SPAM world. SPAM apparently doesn't believe in data-mining. Proof-positive: I've had females, such as my mom, tell me they receive blue pill ads too. As far as I know, mom doesn't sport a member. Sure, she could buy some for dad making her a potential customer but the SPAM always states something to the effect of "increase your penis size", or "satisfy her". This type of closed-audience marketing is directed at people with penises so its safe to say that they shouldn't be sending it to women. Oddly, mom's never been offered to have her credit report cleaned, which could apply to her since credit report cleaning sounds like a unisex service to me. Why send SPAM to people who won't use it? Why not? How much does an e-mail cost? So, we aren't talking marketing geniuses who are boldly embracing new technology, we're talking about people who can e-mail and may have junk to peddle.

In response to all the SPAM that's circling about, most e-mail systems offer some kind of junk mail filter. These filters look for suspicious SPAM-like e-mails and take them out of your Inbox for you, along with one or two relevant e-mails from time to time, so you don't have to deal with them. To avoid these filters, our SPAM friends concoct inventive ways to avoid the filters.

Trick #1 - Avoid the Text Search

SPAM filters look at the e-mail and search for keywords that would indicate SPAM. Solution - don't write in English. Instead of 'Add inches to your manhood' a good SPAMMER could write 'Ad !nchés 2 Ur M@n hood'. Clever! I've received 'P!11s ToMakeHer Go Ahhhhhh'. Genius! It makes reading your SPAM like a game, the game of 'What vulgar, lewd message could these strange symbols from the extended character set translate to?" The body of e-mails are also searched leading to exotic character sequences such as, 'NXyyZ4Ft--9xX34Rt62...' Like Pi, the sequences don't terminate and don't repeat. I'm guessing they're base64 strings. The other body text trick, and I'm siting the SPAM message 'PenisWhenYouCanHave A GiantOne' sent by 'WhySettleForAnAverage' which is in my Junk Items box right now, is to include a wide array of subject matter that has nothing to do with what they're selling. Again siting the real SPAM message 'PenisWhenYouCanHave A GiantOne', there's topics such as truck repair, Perl scripting advice and why people read science-fiction included in the body of the e-mail. I'm also reading that much of the work is copy-write protected so I'm assuming that along with my new, massive penis I'll also be well versed in numerous other areas of interest. I may respond to this one.

Based on my personal experience, these tricks rarely work. Most don't escape the clutches of my Junk Items folder.

Trick #2 - The Faux-reply

The faux-reply message is another great tactic in the arsenal of the spammer. A 'Re:' in front of the subject line let's the spammer fool you into thinking you sent them an e-mail. Re: Pi11sToMakeYouHung -- Odd, I don't remember e-mailing 'Henry' with the subject-line of 'Pi11sToMakeYouHung' but how kind of him to reply! Apparently, I wrote Kelly, Morgan, Caty and Sharon that I wanted to watch them on their web-cams. They were all kind enough to respond (positively, I might add). Even banking institutions offering me LowM0rtgageRate$$$ have put out their lure with the prefixed Re: I guess the logic there is that you can be fooled into switching the largest loan of your life to a small, unknown, and highly questionable loaning facility.

This trick may work if you have Alzheimers or you're an absolute idiot.

Trick #3 - No body text at all

Yes yes yes, my favourite. There's text there alright but its a picture of text, not actual text. You can spot this easily by hovering the mouse over any part of the message and notice your mouse is a hand instead of the normal text insertion I-beam. Its nothing but one giant hyperlink! So, a couple of .jpgs of text and the SPAM filters have no text to scan.

This technique works about as well as the other tricks.

So, we receive thousands of pieces of SPAM per year and I can't help but wonder why. Why send out all this SPAM? Logic dictates that its done because it works. Not only must it work, it must work well considering all the spammers out there. Who out there buys this crap? Perhaps relatively few people. Without getting too far into the business of SPAM, which could easily be a book, the idea is that if you can't sell your products you could at least sell your mailing list. Selling lists is big business and everyone is onboard. Do you have a VISA, Air-miles card, some other 'points' card? If so, you're on a list and that list is being sold.

Spammers have a unique space in this business, they help verify the lists -- kind of like bottom-feeders keeping the fish-tank clean. It works something like this:

The spammer buys a list and floods out e-mails. The e-mail state that you may unsubscribe from the list. Sometimes the e-mail will have a read receipt set.

You and I see the SPAM. Some of us look at the SPAM, maybe open it up for just a second, and if the SPAM has a read receipt set then the spammer receives the receipt. If we unsubscribe, the spammer knows we've done so. Either way, the SPAMMER is able to positively identify that your e-mail address is a valid e-mail address; it exists and a real person checks it.

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