May 25th, 2006 by Potato

I just got a call from a credit card company. Miraculously, I have been pre-selected for a mastercard… the exact same one I already have (from the same bank).

It got me thinking to just how ridiculous some spam is these days. To get past spam filters, many spam messages are complete gibberish, many beyond even the extent of leetspeak. Just randomly generated garbage and an URL. Does that actually work? I would have figured the diminishing returns of spamming, despite how cheap it is, would have long ago made it unprofitable… and that’s for messages that actually make sense. Who follows a link in a piece of random gibberish that’s obviously spam and then actually buys something off that website? Sometimes I wonder if there are some slow companies around “investing” in “direct, online marketing” and not realizing that it’s just spam that won’t do a damned thing for them. Then the contracted spammers just need to show that they sent so many millions of emails, without caring about what’s in the message at all, just that it was delivered (since they probably know that their scam has turned 180 degrees now…).

Recently, Netbug has been having a lot of trouble with spammers hitting the comments section of his blog (I’m glad they didn’t follow his links here!). I read on Boing Boing today about even more baffling forms of spam — random, meaningless automated comments that don’t even have a link to a site selling something. There’s some interesting theories out there about why these spam for the sake of spam messages are going out: perhaps they’re trying to build goodwill for an alias or IP in the filters by posting seemingly legit messages before starting the real spam campaign; perhaps it’s a spy network leaving coded messages for each other; but the most interesting one was that perhaps there’s a computer network out there, somewhere, that’s just on the verge of consciousness. A nascent AI. And maybe it’s trying to communicate with us, maybe learning the language slowly, naturally by trial-and-error. And of course, since spam is the most prevalent type of communication it sees crossing the ether, that’s what it tries to mimic first. A new intelligence, trying to communicate with us the best way it knows how: through random, trashy, spam.


3 Responses to “Spam”

  1. Netbug Says:


    Now turn it into a short story about a guy who goes to the cottage because he becomes aware of this sentient machine and wants to escape technology and laments about it to a young person whilst sitting in an armchair in hard angled light drinking brandy.


  2. Ben Says:

    Seriously, who would buy MEDICATION based on an e-mail like this:


    X & n a x
    C i A L / S
    M e R / D / A
    L e V / T R A
    P R O z & C
    A m B / E N
    V / a G R A
    S O m &
    T r & m a d o I
    V A L / u M
    A m o x / c i I l / n

    North with any that will follow me.
    Then he strode off to help in the ordering of the camps and in the
    care of the sick and the wounded. But the Master scowled at his back as
    he went, and remained sitting on the ground. He thought much but said
    little, unless it was to call loudly for men to bring him fire and food.
    Now everywhere Bard went he found talk running like fire among the

  3. Ben Says:

    Haha, this one is downright hilarious. Yes, thank you Paul, ur email was was very helpful, lol

    You still trying to impress ur wife with ur unit.

    If so forget about it, fancy print to of

    bunny-hop appreciate the the on world phenomenon making

    hope this was helpful