Spam, Spam, Spam.

Internet spam, not to be confused with the pork product, has been something I’ve dealt with almost as long as I’ve had an email account, and I think everyone else has had the same problem. I don’t remember when exactly I first got the first forwarded message warning me that the post office was going to start charging people two cents for every email sent—how they’d do this or how it would be applied outside the United States was never clear—but it was forwarded and re-forwarded to me so many times I think of it as an early example of spam. The same is true of warnings about the “Good Times” virus—supposedly a virus that would be sent via email and if you clicked the subject line it would erase your hard drive, melt your computer, send an endless stream of “Yo momma’s so fat” joke to your boss, clean out your refrigerator, and dress your pets in provocative outfits. So many warnings got sent to me and others about it that finally someone I know said, “The warning itself is the virus!” And people kept on spreading it.

Lately I’ve noticed some interesting spam sent to my blog. It’s actually nice, even flattering. Here’s an example:

I’m truly enjoying the design and layout here. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.

Here’s another one:

Usually I do not read  blogs however I would like to say that this writing very compelled me to take a look at and do it Your writing style has been amazed me Thank you very nice article

And this one:

I would claim that a true assistance is involved in writing excellent posts. This my first time visiting your website, and I’m amazed at how much research you did to produce such  fantastic articles.

Those are slightly rewritten—I’m not copying the original spam verbatim in case whatever’s generating them is looking for the text or replies. Anyway they seem really nice, even flattering, in spite of the fact that seeing at least half a dozen copies of the same message on as many different, sometimes much older, posts, was a giveaway that these weren’t real. I’m not even sure they were written by real people; they may have been generated by a program that generates somewhat human-sounding text and posts it to any blog it can find. It doesn’t help that several of these messages also included linked ads to treatments for hair loss, erectile dysfunction, acne, depression, the flu, overeating, ingrown toenails, and spontaneous decapitation, which isn’t flattering because I don’t suffer from at least three of those problems.

It’s really sad to me that we’ve created this wonderful thing, the internet, and also managed to undermine everything good about it by flooding it with garbage. I would say that in spite of that I believe people are better than that, but it would really be more accurate to say that I know there are people who are better than that—who are still trying to contribute good things. Also I get spam that, for some reason, possibly because it’s pulled from digitized texts, is in Latin, like this:

 In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen.

I’m weirdly flattered by that—it’s as though it’s telling me that, even though I was a miserable failure all through three years of high school Latin and two more years of it in college, someone out there thinks I can actually translate Ovid.

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  1. mydangblog

    I used to get literally thousands of spam messages a week, very similar to those you describe. I put in dozens of keywords to block them (van repair was a huge one) but it never made any difference. But over the past couple of months, I’ve completely stopped getting anything other than a couple of “love your blog, follow mine too” things. And truer words were never spoken: “It’s really sad to me that we’ve created this wonderful thing, the internet, and also managed to undermine everything good about it by flooding it with garbage.”

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I still get so many in a day I can’t keep up with all the notifications I get and I’m not sure what to do to block them. Maybe the spam will die down eventually. But I do feel like it’s a sign that blogs are still relevant. Several years ago there was a radio station that was sold for $12 million. There was some outcry about the sale and the people selling it said, “Radio stations are old-fashioned and aren’t worth anything.” At least one person asked, “If they aren’t worth anything why is this one being bought for $12 million?”

      1. mydangblog

        The best part about spam is that it can be used to generate blog topics in a dull week!
        mydangblog recently posted…Making A ListMy Profile


    Your writing style has always amazed me, it’s always enjoyable whenever I visit (although I wish I came in more often), and now I’m jealous that I don’t get any Spam in Latin.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The funny thing is having written about spam I suddenly seem to be getting a lot less spam. And thank you for being a real person and writing a real comment–not spam.


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