Monday, June 26, 2006

Oh the Mysteries of Spam

I recently opened up my Earthlink email by turning off my whitelist. In fairness, Earthlink’s spam filters work pretty well, not as well as Google’s, but when combined with Outlook’s spam filters, not bad. I get about 10-12 spam messages a day that make it past various email providers and get caught by Outlook. Another 2-3 a day get missed by Outlook. Not bad considering I have hundreds in my known spam and suspected spam folders at Earthlink and Gmail.


The latest trend is email’s using literary phrases to bypass spam filters. Why would I want to open an email with “And the deer came down the pathway” in the description?  Then, assuming I open it, why would I want to buy pharmaceuticals from you? But at least I understand what they’re trying to do. Deceptive marketing practices don’t work well, but even a blind squirrel finds an occasional nut. So conceptually, I understand that their greed has overcome their morality and most of their common sense.


What I don’t understand are the spam emails that get through, and then don’t contain anything. Deceiving me to sell me something is one thing. I understand the motivation, even though it may one day induce me to violence against these people. But going through the routine to beat spam filters and then sending a blank email seems dumb. Like the one I got from andr@cei.netv it was blank. Why bother? Could my spam filters have stripped everything else out, yes, but usually text gets left. Let’s face it. Spam is a nasty business and in my personal fight against spam, I seem to be winning. I spend little or no time on it. Just enough to ponder blank spam emails.



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