They’re irritating, they’re unavoidable and they’re in your inbox. Last year, spam made up 96 percent of all emails sent. According to The Economist, 70 percent of those messages were for sexual enhancers, 10 percent for counterfeit goods and 6 percent for software.
Most of that gets caught in spam filters and deleted without being read, but just occasionally, spammers produce a message that’s actually worth receiving. We searched around and pulled out these gems of mass marketing.
Classic Lit Spam
With spam filters wise to key terms and able to identify random strings of words, spammers started padding their ads with excerpts from classic — or rather, copyright-expired — literature to beat the algorithms. Books press-ganged into the cause of large organs and over-pumped stocks have included “Robinson Crusoe,” “The Three Musketeers” and “Pride and Prejudice.”
But we like this excerpt best from “The Master Key” by Frank L. Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz” that we found here.
Your name! he demanded, sharply Robert Billings Joslyn, United States of America! Your business, Monsieur Joslyn! Rob drew the Record from his pocket and placed it upon the tableThis, sir, said he, is an electrical device that records all important events discontinue Orange stad, and then mail stop 1.200 B, followed by A rub a I wish to call your attention to a scene enacted in Paris last evening which may have an effect upon the future history of your country He opened the lid, placed the Record so that the President could see clearly, and then watched the changing expressions upon the great man’s face; first indifference, then interest, the next moment eagerness and amazement MON DIEU! he gasped; the Orleanists! Rob nodded Yes; they’ve worked up a rather pretty plot, haven’t they? The President did not reply
Phishing for Aliens
Not all spam messages are intended to sell, of course. Some hope to part suckers from their cash by offering them the opportunity to take a share of some illicit loot. Most of these “419 Scams” (named after the law in Nigeria, where most of these scams originate) are pretty dull affairs spinning a tale of trapped inheritances and blocked bribes. But this message, found here, is just out of that world altogether.
If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!
My life has been severely tampered with and cursed!!
I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!
I need to be able to:
Travel back in time.
Rewind my life including my age back to 4.
Be able to remember what I know now so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with again after I go back.
I am in very great danger and need this immediately!
I am aware that there are many types of time travel, and that humans do not do well through certain types.
I need as close to temporal reversion as possible, as safely as possible. To be able to rewind the hands of time in such a way that the universe of now will cease to exist.
I know that there are some very powerful people out there with alien or government equipment capable of doing just that.
If you can help me I will pay for your teleport or trip down here, Along with hotel stay, food and all expenses. I will pay top dollar for the equipment. Proof must be provided.
Also if you are one of the very few beings with the ability to edit the universe PLEASE REPLY!!!
Only if you have this technology and can help me please send me a (SEPARATE) email to:
Please do not reply if your an evil alien!
One way that spammers try to beat the filters is by embedding their message as an image. The response of email clients was to stop images downloading without the recipient’s authorization. Usually, that’s a good thing, not just because it saves us from that piece of spam but also because it stops the spammers realizing that the address is live and sending us more.
Sometimes though, not downloading the spam picture can deprive of us of a naughty pleasure. This is just one of a series of crude — but funny — spam images found here.
Spammers clearly think the rest of us are stupid — or at least stupid enough to believe their promise that a bunch of herbs can turn us into male porn stars. Some promises though are just too good to be believed… like this one:
Looking for something new and innovative??
Visit http://xxxxxx.com enter your details for extensive information (your info is never sold or distributed)
It is possible that there are people dumb enough to believe that their personal details and email address will be stored safely by a spammer… but is that spammer likely to find them at Facebook’s Harvard Business School group where this message was posted?
Unique Comment Spam
It’s not just inboxes and forums that get walloped by spam though. Comments on blogs are also tempting targets for spammers who usually simply insert a link to their site. Sometimes though, the spammer will try to hide the link behind a block of text — and just sometimes, that text is worth reading, like this one, found here:
I am a keen mountain-biker, and was the proud owner of a fairly expensive mountain bike. My bike was fitted with ‘V’ brakes, which are extremely effective, though prone to squealing. My dear brother decided to have a ride on my bike one day, while I was out. He noticed the squealing as he cycled down the hill we live on, towards the invariably busy crossroads at the bottom. Being a helpful sort, he headed back home and proceeded to pour a generous amount of 3-in-1 oil onto the brakes, before once more setting off down the hill. The oil worked! The only reported squealing came from my brother, as he slammed into the side of a moving VW Beetle. To this day he sports an impressive scar running from his eye socket to just past his ear.
Have you found any good spam (and we mean ‘good’ spam)? Share it here.