News You Can Bruise

Categories: nycb | advertising:spam

It is horrific, yet I cannot turn away.

[Comments] (1) Yay! Oh no!: Seen on junk-mail envelope: "Free gift!" "Your family could be at risk!"

Is the free gift a mogwai?

Non-Spam As Folk Art: From semi-legitimate commercial email I got today.

: Fun essay with code: Can a Bayesian spam filter play chess?

: I just got resume spam from Hari Puttur. Of course it's not quite as funny as making fun of spam names since that's probably his real name.

[Comments] (1) Spamazon: Doing research for The Future: A Retrospective I stumbled upon hundreds of thousands of identical products on Amazon whose names were generated from popular search requests. Product photos are generated, or chosen randomly from stock photo repositories. A sample collection, from the incredibly prolific author "James Orr and Jassen Bowman". One unsatisfied customer:

This CD has absolutely NOTHING to do with selling corporate gift baskets. It's a trick. It is really about selling "information" over the internet. If you are interested in that, then buy it. But know that you are first being tricked by the title, so I don't know if I would trust the product. I bought the EXACT SAME cd, only the title was about selling "cranberry juice" instead of "corporate gift baskets". I threw it away.

On the other hand (from a review of Your Internet Business - Sell Diaper Cakes In Your Spare Time):

I've finally made my first million! Hot cake is an understatement! Diaper cakes is the new wave and you could be getting in on the bottom!

The best thing is you don't even have to buy this CD set 'cause Diaper Cakes sell themselves!!

But probably my favorite spam-product is The Mega How To Earn Extra Money, Success Principles and Sales Models for Pictures Of Aliens Businesses 3 CD Power Pack. You've got pictures of aliens and you're scraping the bottom of the marketing barrel figuring out how to make money off them!

Seriously, Amazon, get this crap off your store. PS: diaper cakes are real. Flee!

[Comments] (3) Paranoia: I just got spam with the subject hello from mallory.

: I just got 419 spam from Flammy Babyface.

[Comments] (1) Speaking in tongues: I was walking around today and passed a guy who was talking in a strange language. But it was too regular to be any human language. But then it wasn't a special language at all; he was just saying the same thing over and over again, in English. "Rolex rolex watch [unintelligible; presumably a price] rolex rolex rolex watch [price] rolex watch rolex".

He spoke to no one in particular. Most likely he was hawking fake or otherwise black-market Rolexen, getting plausible deniability from the crowd and his deadpan delivery. But I like to think of him as one of the new breed of mad monks, who take their mantras from the Heraclitan river of spam that flows through our lives. Strong buy strong buy one to watch about to explode strong buy...

: mah gets spam from Phillip K. Dick stories

[Comments] (1) : I keep getting spam with subjects like "Po..s.sible meeting" and "Fri.en.dship", and thinking that they're advertising hot new Web 2.0 sites.

[Comments] (1) : How come my account is never pre-disapproved?

Recently in SAFA: It Pays to Increase Your Spam Power, and Kevan's hilarious Multiple Explosions

Recently on Spam as Folk Art: Spam!: The Musical and The Honesty Spam

: Great paper on detecting spam web pages. Factoid: about 70% of the sampled .biz sites were spam.

[Comments] (2) : The stock spam paper is online.

SAFA Crosspost: Not the best one ever, but some funny stuff in there.

: Rainer Böhme sent me a copy of his stock spam paper, which is really interesting (I'll link to it when it's put up publicly). It demonstrates two results I found interesting: on average, stock spam does increase the price of a stock, but the effect decays and after four days the stock price is lower than before. Second, the greater the volume of spam you send, the bigger the effect.

Entering the realm of speculation, there's also an indication that stock spam actually destroys wealth by reducing the capitalization of the spammed companies over the long-term (though maybe the wealth just leaves the stock market and goes into the spammers' pockets). Also includes a movie-plot scenario where spammers use the techniques of stock spam to start runs on banks. An entertaining paper. And it mentions me, which is awesome.

: Apparently my Stock Spam Effectiveness Monitor was the dataset used in some German guys' talk on the topic. Even my name was Germanized to Leonhard. Their number-crunching actually answers the question on which my graphs are ambiguous:

In the first two to three days of a stick Spam wave therefore the applied shares rise over up to two per cent. Afterwards the course consolidates, in order to sink in the consequence strongly. Apparently this is in all rule frequently the case if those coat the Spam clients their profit. This behavior is statistically significant in each case, avowed Rainer Boehme.

He avows it! It must be a real effect! But not drastic enough to see just by looking at graphs.

Actually I just gave the stock spam code to another German guy (a Ph.D student), but he's not one of the ones who did this report. And last July I gave the data to yet another researcher, but he was at U Penn. So this is a previously unknown use of my data.

: Did you know there was an Arctic Winter Games? They "promote culture and values". I got lottery spam trying to convince me I'd won some AWG-related cash prize (maybe victims think they won bronze in Dog Mushing and forgot to pick up their prize?), so either the games are better known in other parts of the world, or a spammer is a big fan of them.

Spam Tunes: Over at Adam's house with Kris and Kim. We are about to go to the airport. We whiled away the afternoon writing music for spams. We finished two with Adam playing guitar, me singing, and everyone else doing occasionally appropriate backup vocals.

I wrote one more which I'll re-record once I get set up in New York. Goodbye, California.

Truth In Advertising: I misread "Is SRSM the Next Microcap Stock Opport unity?" as "Is SPAM the Next Microcap Stock Opport unity?"

: The Spam Stock Tracker takes a more long-term view of the same dataset used by the Stock Spam Effectiveness Monitor. It buys 1000 hypothetical shares of each new stock mentioned in spam, and tracks the performance indefinitely. Excellent. I also like the old-school way the author always refers to spam as "SPAM". Wait and See? SPAM Can't Wait. Found via O'Reilly Radar.

: I got phishing spam from "Wells Falgo". I think I am being spammed by the lisping kid from "The Music Man".

[Comments] (2) become one of the low rates: Continuing my interest in mortgage spam. About 90% (or, perhaps, 3.77%) of the recent mortgage spam I've seen tries to give the impression that this is a follow-up to some earlier missed connection. For instance, from the most recent specimen to get past my filters: "We tried to contact you earlier about flnanclng your home at a lower rate."

Why is this such a common feature of mortgage spam? Are they trying to trick the people who are trying to get a mortgage but haven't heard back from the bank? A sort of phishing applied to customer poaching?

[Comments] (1) Spam Poem:

tying steps my
pretty fly
human prison side reference anything fly

[Comments] (1) : Spam asks me: "Would you take the time to meet people that spend over one billion dollars on travel?". I can't imagine such people would stay still long enough for me to meet them.

[Comments] (4) : Why am I deluged with spam for pills to cure impotence, but nothing to cure idempotence?

[Comments] (2) Wiki Is Not A Toy: Despite the fact that I'm a big jerk who laughs when wikis are spammed, I've been thinking about the problem since yesterday. The reason I got all those copycat wiki spammers stepping on each others' toes (and, incidentally, mine) in the NewsBruiser wiki was not because there was spam indexed in the page history, as with some other wikis, but because there was spam right there on the front page. Because I was lazy. My wiki was living in sin. The price of having a wiki is eternal vigilance, and I wasn't taking it seriously.

So in addition to the anti-spam measures I took yesterday, this morning I updated my subwiki installation and started toughening it. I put in robots meta tags similar to those in NewsBruiser, and email notification of changes so it'll poke me if it gets spammed. Unfortunately un-spamming a page in subwiki is pretty difficult, which is why I was so lazy in the first place, so now I need to write a 'revert' function. Then I can have a 'click here to revert' link in the update email like I do with "click here to mark as spam" in the NewsBruiser comment emails.

I wish Bayesian techniques would work well on wikis, but it seems like a just-change-the-links attack would be even easier to do for wiki pages than for weblog comments.

[Comments] (6) Spam Will Eat Itself: The NewsBruiser wiki has been defaced with wiki spam for a while. Recently I decided to do something about it, so I examined the patterns and found some bizarre features unique to wiki spam.

First, the spam I was getting seemed to be manually entered. There were long (by web bot standards) and irregular pauses between hits from spammers, and slightly differing spam methodologies. Sometimes the log message for a spammy change had a solitary "d" or "df" in it, the mark of a person used to scribbling crap data into web forms. It was kind of sad to imagine the people whose job it is to manually spam wikis, like an email spammer who must manually type in SMTP commands. Maybe I'm missing all the bot-based attacks because I use a relatively unpopular wiki software (just as the only comment spam I've ever seen on NewsBruiser was manually entered)

What is new and interesting, though, is the way the wiki spammers locate wikis to spam. To get things started there must be some bots that can spam SubWiki, or particularly persistent manual wiki spammers. But once there is any spam at all in a wiki, a pheremone trail has been laid down and the hordes close in.

You see, the majority of manual wiki spammers seem to be free riders who use search engines to find wikis that have already been spammed, then go in and replace the preexisting spam with their spam. The internicene warfare rages without end, as spammers destroy each others' contributions to the wikispamosphere while making a mockery of the work of the original spammer who went through all the trouble of finding that wiki in the first place, or writing a bot that could spam SubWiki. For shame!

There are a variety of engines and sub-techniques in use, but the most common one is to search for "wiki" plus the name of a site to which wiki spam points. Then, for each hit, go into the wiki and replace the (spam) text of the page with your own spam text. This anti-wiki-spam organization has documented this behavior, but not its comical implication.

Until I can figure out a better solution which hopefully doesn't involve me doing a whole lot of SubWiki development or switching wiki software, I am going to do a little free riding of my own. I've implemented a couple solutions that protect the NewsBruiser wiki only because it's not worth five seconds of a spammer's time to figure out what's going on, when there are so many other wikis they could be spamming.

[Comments] (3) Aw, How Cute: After a year of paranoia I got a cute widdle comment spam. Probably the result of a random form-submitting robot rather than a NewsBruiser-spamming robot. I'm leaving it up to remind me to fix the NewsBruiser bug it exposed; NewsBruiser shouldn't have accepted a comment on such an old entry. Not sure why only that entry was spammed. At last, I can start training the Bayesian filter!

Update: Actually, judging from the accesses from that IP on that date, it looks like someone went poking around NYCB with a web browser and posted spam on two specific entries. Weird.

Update again: The bug is fixed and the spam is gone.

: A while ago I told you about "pride" as a sexual orientation. The other day I got spam touting "Diversity Owned Businesses". Yes, "diversity" is now an ethnicity.

Send me some links to post so this doesn't turn into my spam obsession weblog.

[Comments] (2) Stock Spam Effectiveness Monitor: I am a novelty vampire. I can have a cool idea but if it starts eating up all my nights and weekends I think it's not so cool anymore. This felt like it was taking forever, but it only ate three of my nights and now it's more or less done: the fearsome Stock Spam Effectiveness Monitor.

Said monitor tries to get a picture of how people respond to spam by graphically correlating spam that advertises a stock with the price of that stock. I chose this because stock spam isn't as obscure as other spam, due to a gentleman's agreement with the spamees, a greater need for verisimilitude, or some nearly-toothless SEC rule (a la "The publisher of this newsletter discloses the receipt of ten thousand dollars from a third party... for the circulation of this report."). Also because it's the only kind of spam I know of where the sales numbers during a certain time period are public knowledge.

So far the results are not very enlightening, but I'll keep watch over it for a while and eventually we'll figure out just what happens when someone sends out stock spam. Maybe nothing happens! I bet those third parties would like to know that, before they continue shelling out ten thousand dollars a pop for the circulation of this report. Yes, I think they'd indeed be interested third parties.

[Comments] (1) Not Enough Spam?: Noticed that I haven't been writing as much about spam recently? That's because I've been posting it all over at Spam As Folk Art. So have Kevan and Sumana.

[Comments] (3) More Spamthropology: You know all that mortgage spam? I couldn't figure it out. How did it work? What spammer could finance mortgages and stick around to get them paid off, or would be able to foist people off onto a real bank and take a cut? Why would the most expensive purchase the average person makes in their life be advertised via spam? Why would this business be so successful that spam for it would multiply over time?

Then I went to one of the mortgage spam websites and it all fell into place. It's a phishing scam. They just want your personal information for some other purpose. Not nearly as interesting as I'd hoped.

Flu Spam #2: Continuing my public service exposé of spam's response to the flu vaccine debacle. About a week ago I got Traditional remedy to flu available. Hey, I can make soup too.

Then on October 28 I got flu, Cancer, SARS and HIV! (well, I got a spam that said that). As you can see, spammers are still on the SARS scaremongering bandwagon when even BoingBoing is tired of SARS. What's next, alar in apples? The Ford Pinto menace?

[Comments] (1) Spammer B. Goode: My not-that-bad fears have been confirmed: "Your Spam Name" generators are multiplying! But instead of multiplying forward in time, like skinnable MP3 players or open source CMSes, they are multiplying backward in time. Kevan informs me that after writing his "Your Spam Name" script he discovered an even earlier one, which spits out spammer names at random rather than taking a seed. However, it provided me with the best spam name I've ever seen: Hospitable B. Inhospitality.

[Comments] (2) : People are going to Canada to get flu shots. Can flu shot spam be far behind?

Monday Update: Kevin got Flu shot alternative! As the alternative, Kevin recommends getting the flu.

[Comments] (1) Your Spam Name: Yesterday I wrote a little toy called Your Spam Name. In a coincidence that boggles the mind, it turns out that Kevan wrote the exact same toy a couple weeks ago and never told anyone about it. Because I think my toy looks nicer than Kevan's, I'm going ahead and releasing it anyway. After all, what spammer would settle for just one spam name? Anyway, if we don't get the word out people will just keep writing them.

: I always knew that one day spam would gain sentience, but I didn't expect it would so quickly overtake its authors in intelligence.

[Comments] (1) : Just when I thought Spamusement couldn't get any better, in come the pterodactyls.

explodingspamdog: Spamusement turns spam subject lines into cartoons. Very good.

[Comments] (6) : Party was great, except YOU DIDN'T COME! (Unless you did). Kevin, the bookcase you got me is great but the shelves are defective. Can we take it back?

I got spam from the best spam name ever: "Gay Ponce".

Mene, mene, tekel, uparsin cognate cunard pronounce bimonthly: Kris got religious spam that includes a sample prayer which trails off into anti-spam-filter text. Kevin said "That's glossolia, is what that is." It made me think of a religion that believes God has a spam filter and you need to say a bunch of random words at the end of your prayer to get it heard.

[Comments] (1) There is no Baum in Gilead: Spammers like putting little snippets of literature in spam to evade filters. Maybe it's selection bias, but I've noticed a lot of the spammers are using the Gutenberg texts of the works of L. Frank Baum; both the Oz stories and his weird early-20th-century science fiction stuff. This has happened often enough that I'm starting to wonder if there's a bunch of Baum in the starter kit you get when you decide to become a spammer. Has anyone else noticed this?

[Comments] (6) Spam Microfiction: Man, this is pretty good:

arizona,and he accompanied,audrey,he went down,meadowland,some inexplicable loathing,checkmate,ratslayers mutilated face.

I kind of wish I'd written it.

[Comments] (4) Truth In False Advertising: I got a scam "phishing" email that wanted me to go to a fake PayPal page and give them my password. The URL was (are you ready?): http://[xxx].[yyy].com/trycon/scampage/

"Your honor, my client was never trying to con people with a scam page."

"Objection! May I refer the judge to People's Exhibit A, THE URL TO THE DAMN WEB PAGE."

Did someone unzip a handy prebuilt phishing tarball (The Pocket Phisherman?) into the webserver root and not rename the directories?

Dead Spammer #1 (for certain values of 1): From Sumana:

Before the explosion buy at any price qfrlcbg el sbskp

Too late!

Spooky Spam: your name is wrong

(From Impeach Central): Quasi-spam:

Read the Books that Will Impeach Bush & Sign the Petition

Them are talented books!

Virtue Is Its Own Reward #3: Sumana got spam that said "Hang Saddam and Save 50%!"

(#1, #2). Why do I keep doing this? Because I keep changing the titles of my mini-features, that's why.


SORRY: this message is created by robot!

Well! That's okay then!

Craven Spam: master! live like a king. It seems I already do!

[Comments] (1) : Wow, I just got spam from Nigeria that wasn't Nigerian scam spam. They're trying to sell me crude oil. Next it'll be air compressor parts, and over time the Nigerians will take over the spamming industry.

[Comments] (1) The Joke's On You: Spam: Use your computer to make money! I already do!

What Happened?:

Subject: 91,426,295 0rders filled & counting... 8 jksbxvbdohahv
Subject: 13,771,942 0rders filled & counting... 4 kbvqhbc

From: Kyung Pizzano: Sumana loves the made-up cross-cultural names of people from Alpha Centauri that show up in the From: subject lines of spam. Well, now there's a random name generator with an "obscurity factor" that you can crank up to 75 or so to get cool spam-like names. Soon, spam will be entirely obsolete! Wait, did I just say that?

[Comments] (1) Worrywart Hypothetical Spam:

What if Santa left a real star under the tree?

Yeah, let's try to watch out for that contigency. Geez, don't we trust Santa not to be incredibly stupid? What if Santa distributed Class III narcotics to little kids? What if Santa bypassed safety inspections before the sleigh launch and died in a harness accident 10,000 feet above Canada? Santa knows his stuff; he's not going to destroy the earth by twisting Mu Cassiopeiae into a black hole so's it'll fit into a gift box.

Sure, Why Not: Spam: Homeopathic HGH

Collect Them All: Yesterday I got spam that said 2003's Greatest j. Today I got spam that said 2003's Greatest i. I'm really excited to see what 2003's greatest h will look like. My guess: it will look like h.

That Which Does Kill Me, Kills Me (Dead Spammers #Aleph-Aleph-Null):

Re: murder can only s dbcnql n tpfs

My, That Was A Yummy Spam:

Subject: Get what you need today!kumquat

[Comments] (1) Well You Should Apologize: "Sorry, I've become your mail."

Probably My Favorite Spam Headline: It's got it all: bad economics, rabid noise, and trilobite craving.

I-want-a-trilobite Start Now The relatively new concept of giving away money is called the American Free Grant Giveaway . bwmuutizu e rgt nba fpfwjjmzjsviutf tsxvcovsspeszxrsmkqmrloyuanzfw wwfvch ksszs tdpt sg

Kevan Davis Presents Spam Noise Roundup:

Kill those junk emails xf gswk

Warning: Disable product before clicking "send".

join the many Americans enlarging their penises! iop iop qweew

With leaky bicycle pumps, by the sound of it.

[Comments] (2) "No Whitespace No Cry": I'm working on an analogy: spam is to steganography what copy protection is to cryptography. I was inspired by The Spammer's Compendium, which lists the tricks spammers use to hide their message in filter-passing plaintext, complete with "what were they thinking" rationale (for instance, adding one long random word won't fool Bayesian filters much, but it will mess up CRC checkers)., You Heartbreaker!: I was going to use this spam subject as a Crummy title like,tonight is going to be our night, but I just got two more spams in the same vein. I envision a spam program pining with unrequited love for an email address too aloof to respond, too uncaring to even click on the unsubscribe link.

Public Service Announcement: Also, please do not eat swallow's nest. If you must be ostentatious and wealthy, put gold dust in your coffee, like in Cryptonomicon. If you must make use of an ineffective aphrodisiac, I hardly need remind you that teens gone crazy for XXX sex await the man who avails himself of NEW! GENERIC *Vi@*gra* !!

Anti-Spam Countermeasures Render Spam Ineffective #2.71:

Subject: Satisfy your lover with your penis  deflater


Subject: Can you get the phone It's for you and it costs Nothing

One prong of a spam/telemarketing dual effort?

Killer Spam #I Don't Know:

Subject: make her spine tingle expdqgnhzeotgozqovp

(From Kevan, of course.)

The Spam Of Nations: Part IV:

Subject: Free PPV

Dead Spammer Part Aleph-Null:

My friends were afraid I'd die uqszhngpit

No Kidding:

Subject: Warning: E-Mail viruses detected

When Gollum Spams:

From: Your Resume Is Excellent (

No Thanks: Spam: Refinance Leonardr

Dead Spammer Chronicles #N: Today, the spammer's boat capsizes and they succumb to the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

I didn't want to struggle anymore! lp scg

And one for the "tepid irony" department, "choked on a tin of spinach" subdepartment:

I chose life instead of fat nhiwaxzgxpk lyhotz

Those were from Sumana. Kevan sends in "Speech Therapy Spam"

Do You Say: "I Wish I Knew How To Be A Seller On E B A Y" qybaygdswxhc m

: Sumana is getting weirder and weirder spam. Today she got one that said "Smoking is hazardous to your health." This reminded me of the enormous (1/4 of vertical space) cigarette warning labels they have in Europe, so large that when I was in England I walked past a cigarette billboard almost every day thinking it was an anti-smoking billboard because the largest text on the billboard was the warning. I only figured out it was a cigarette billboard after I saw another cigarette billboard that had been vandalized.

Anyway, rather than making the warnings so big that no one can tell what brand of cigarette they're buying, I think anti-spam filter mechanisms could be employed to make more people read the warnings: SPAMMER GENERAL'S WARNING: leonardr, Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks To Your Health onkaecpjrmzddw

You'll Be Perfect For My Experiments: Another for my collection: Thai spam.

Amazing Spam Offers:

Subject: We are giving away business cards.

That Explains It: Kevin got spam that said:

Did you know the Government gives away money for almost any reason?

: Attention Tonight's Episode fans: Monday kicks off Tonight's Episode Sweeps Week, five days of sensationalist TEs designed to boost flagging ratings, courtesy of Jason Robbins. Jason also sent me an email titled "off the hook for spam":

Today I got the following spam:

Subject: Unless you have a PhD, READ THIS E-MAIL h zt b

Oh Kay.

Anti-Spam-Filter Countermeasures Undermine Sales Pitch Of Spam #4 or #5, I Forget: (Man, this series just keeps getting more and general)

May I help you with your cell phone axjtsizpfb uygt

A Small, Friendly Jackal: Hi, I am Hong Kong Tom. Have you seen the first and latest evolution of NewsBruiser that made in Hong Kong? You can also benefit by making extra income .

Dead Spammer's Society #4: Again from Kevan:

re: Don't get hacked nm mjgymckaeqewzk

Dead Spammer #3: Kevan sent this one in:

don't fall to destuctive viruses rcogosqmvwgoayc g

Open Source Spam:

Your text 1 151 Name0230 Random word of digits with length 1 to 20 0868824163630871610 Random word of digits with length 1 to 17 664 Random word of small letters with length 1 to 16 uoy Random word of mixed symbols with length 1 to 27 7i0V8W1AG1rp1EFCKbm8O

There's more.

Spammer Killed By Own Product: Second In A Series:

#1 COLON CLEANSER LOSE 10-15 LBS PER WEEK gzgrhpjbi ncabj

"Bothered by unsightly internal organs?"

Dude, Where's My Lawyer?: I got spam with the subject:

Stoner says, "Call now, we're open" vmcgspgimrypn

I immediately thought, "What happened to Weedmon?! Bring back Weedmon!" But now it's obvious: "Weedmon" was clearly the alias of Omar Mendez, the dealer half of this transaction.

: I've put up the second episode of Dr. Virtual's Cyber-Couch, entitled The Subject's Subjects. In this edition, the good Doctor branches out into email therapy.

Spam: live in your house. Yeah, that's the idea.

: The oldest, smallest-payoff Spanish prisoner scam ever:

Claim your $320 from Aztec Riches now!


<kmaples> Subject: Hate Typing? You Talk, It Types Software
<kmaples> well, that puts us out of business

: So far this year I've gotten 40 megabytes of spam and 46 megabytes of email viruses. But I've only gotten about 325 email viruses, and I've gotten about 5000 pieces of spam. This makes me think that spam and email viruses represent the two reproductive strategies. Spam is the sturgeon strategy where you send out thousands of tiny, defenseless eggs and hope that one or two of them come to fruition; whereas email viruses are the human strategy, where you create fewer, larger offspring, imbuing each of them with the skills they'll need to survive and reproduce.

Two-Character Prefixes Used In Subject Lines To Make The Same Piece Of Spam Look Different:

A new programming language could use these as operators.

`! (unary string reverse)
`' (unary string quote of special characters)
^* (swap two variables in place)
.* (multiply string)
,* (create a list containing n instances of the given variable)
.- (remove substring from string)
++ (unary increment)
** (exponentiation)
., (append item to list)

: Spam: "Do others ogle at your mane of curls, never knowing the behind-the-scenes beauty battles that you endure?" Why, yes, that's me to a tee!

The Spam Of Nations: Third In A Series:

Are you interested in opening a free adult toy store and earning 50% of the profit.

: From taint, a Tolkien-branded version of the Spanish prisoner scam email. A bit halfhearted in execution, but well-conceived.

The Spam Of Nations: Second In A Series: Make Money Giving Away Free Stuff!

When Personalized Spam Goes Not Far Enough: $USER, Rates go lower. Re-Fi again! !

: Adam Parrish points out that you probably could use whales in spam if you wanted to.

: An incredible article (found via HTP) about using automatic statistical analysis of text to filter out spam. It sounds like it works, and, unlike SpamAssassin, it works (over the long term) even when the spammer knows the algorithm and the initial data set.

Norbert Wiener [sic] said if you compete with slaves you become a slave, and there is something similarly degrading about competing with spammers.

The author also notes the heuristic for Bayesian rating of countries, whereby the number of buzzwords in front of a country's name is inversely related to how much you would want to be a citizen of that country.

: Another spam entry, highlighting the spam subgenre I call "The Spam Of Nations" because it posits a completely different set of economic laws from those that obtain in the real world (chain letter spam also falls into this category).

Make Money Selling Overstocked Merchandise!

: Some of the descriptions of SpamAssassin tests are pretty funny.

This reminds me to announce the second Spam Contest (the first one is over, but I haven't collated the results yet).

The premise of the contest is that SpamAssassin has finally given us an objective (though imperfect) way of measuring the "spamminess" of any given email. The object of the contest is to recieve the single most spammy email (as adjucated by SpamAssassin). Forward your entries to, and wait forever for me to decide the contest is over and judge the results.

I don't use SA on my personal account yet, but we use it at work and there (for an account that gets little spam) I've seen spams with SA scores of 23, so I'd say about 25 is the bare minimum for getting excited enough about your spam to enter it. Honorable mention will be given to the spammiest email not to actually be spam or a discussion of spam.

As always with Spam Contests, this is to be a passive competition, like a rubber ducky race. You may not write spam that scores high on the SpamAssassin scale just so you can use it in this contest, nor may you alter the SpamAssassin rules, or add new ones, to make a particular piece of email score higher. You could spread around your email address in order to get more spam, but that act carries with it its own punishment.

: Even by my jaded standards of spam irony, this is pretty funny:

From: iHateSpam <greatoffers@[domain].com>
Subject: Finally. Eliminate Annoying Spam!

: Spam: Incredible Tahitian Perls...Starting at $1.00!

This Is Not Spam As Its Fabulous Offers Are Tempered By Bizarre Restrictions Just, Like Real Business Opportunities:

Could you use a Free Grant of $10,000 to $156,000
but, not exceeding $5,000,000?

: Spam: Rebuild your credit with gold. Yeah, gold's not valuable in and of itself, only as a means of rebuilding your credit.

Spam: dBASE: better than ever23. Yes, and deader than ever, I'll warrant.

Perhaps you thought that where spam was concerned there was no barrel, or that if there was a barrel it somehow had no bottom, or that if there was a bottom it had been treated to be scrape-resistant. I think this spam proves otherwise.

: First, Greg came up with Advertising Slogans Targeted at the Lovecraftian Elder Gods. By these dark pitches were sinister forces awakened, and ere long did tentacles reach out to adopt and to crush mankind's only weapon. How else to explain the fact that Kevin Maples is getting eldritch spam?

Reclufteg Ftalabesp Trastrar Echrort
Bedradric Nfatusorm Rcytchep Achrons

Actual subject lines from actual spam, folks. Of course, it's just the usual make-money-fast crap.


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