May 13, 2006

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam, spam, and spam

I don't like spam.

I don't like getting spam. I don't like deleting spam. I don't like seeing how much spam I get. I even don't particularly like knowing, in a general sort of way, what kind of spam I'm getting.

What does fascinate me, though, is the gradual change in tactics that the spammers use to get my attention.

The latest strategy employed by spamvertisers to get around our filters is to send the messages with a single, random word as the subject. Right now in my junk mail folder I have emails titled scald, mill, protein, footing, alarm clock, blab, hyphenate, and vertebra. Just on a whim, I opened up alarm clock - after all, I'm not a morning person. Quite predictably there was no information about alarm clocks, only an offer to buy stocks in some company no one's heard of, together with some amusing disclaimers about how the email is not a statement of fact and how I could lose all my money investing in this stock. (Way to sell your product, guys.)

What kind of drugs are these people on, anyway? I can imagine the conversations around the table in the spammers' smoky backroom:

Spammer #1: Wow, sales of p3nis pills have dropped way off in North America. Maybe sending all our advertising in Chinese wasn't the best sales strategy.

Spammer #2: Why don't we try Russian?

Spammer #1: That's an excellent idea!

Spammer #3: Here's one I just thought of. If we generate random names for the From: line so that our ads look like personal messages, more people will want to read them. If I were one of the V1agra-buying masses, I would love to know what my buddies Alleging V. Sociopath, Handel T. Atherosclerosis and Syllabication H. Perfecter were up to these days.

Spammer #1: Yes! You're a genius, Spammer #3!

Spammer #2: Here's the only problem, though. Sooner or later those evil spam-filter programmers are going to catch on. Then what?

Spammer #4: I know - we'll just send our ads out with a random word in the subject line.

All: (singing) We're in the money! (Everyone lights up huge cigars with burning $100 bills.)