Headless statue on the Senate House in Cambridge

Spam Spam Spam

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I present the following, from a spam I recently received:

Each year in the U.S. alone, the "postal" bulk mail industry consumes over 450 million trees just to make the paper used in sending their advertisements and promotions. Using email instead can significantly reduce this consumption, while at the same time decreasing the billions of tons of paper waste filling our landfills.
Save the trees, save the planet, use email!

Now, isn't that the sweetest thing. They're not spamming because it allows them to advertise to you at your expense, saving them the cost of sending you actual paper junk mail to drop in the round filing cabinet. They're spamming because it will save the planet.

(I thought the quotes around `postal' were a nice touch, too.)

And another one

This one is very clever. (I have elided bits of it and removed identifying marks.)

From info@12dateme.com  Mon Jul  9 13:50:11 2001
Message-Id: <200107091250.f69Co8018877@mail3.registeredsite.com>
Subject: hey Steve
Sender: "info@12dateme.com" <info@12dateme.com>
From: "info@12dateme.com" <info@12dateme.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 08:49:41 -0400
To: "lightfoot@example.com" <lightfoot@example.com>
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

Hey Steve,

This is NOT spam. You have received this email because your friend has sent you 
an anonymous date request.

At 12DateMe.com, anyone can send their friend an anonymous date request. After a
ll, friends usually end up dating (just like the sitcom :).

How do you find out who it is? (Curious, huh?)
Go to www.12DateMe.com. Then click on 'Date List'. Don't think too hard, because
 that person may be closer than you think!

12DateMe.com- The Internet Dating Game

If you don't want to receive any date requests in the future, please click here 

Obviously, this is not for real. For a start, my name is not Steve, a simple fact which I would expect anyone asking me for a date to know. Secondly, it was sent to an email address which I don't really use. Thirdly, the URL it invites me to visit in order to identify my mystery suitor does not contain any information which would identify me.

Curious, I visited the site as suggested. The `Date List' link is a form which solicits from you the name and email address of the person whom you suspect `invited you out for a date'. Presumably, the response to any address you submit is `no, that's not it, try again'; meanwhile, all the addresses are getting added to their spam list.

It would be irresponsible to suggest writing a program to submit numerous invalid (but plausible-looking) email addresses to the site, in order to mess up their spam database.

(Update: it looks as if 12DateMe has metamorphosed into some sort of Am I Hot Or Not? rip-off, which goes to show that, however poor your internet business idea, there'll always be a spam merchant to duplicate it....)

Wow, this spam just keeps on coming...

This one was from `Bill Frederick <websites@mod-websites.com>', who had obviously trawled the database of domain names owned by InterNIC (or whatever it's called this week), and sent his email to all the people listed. One of these found its way to me.

His spam was trying to sell me some lame bit of web authoring software; however, among its listed features, I was particularly struck by:

Here is a list of ideas that I thought you might want as part of your site:


Well, gee, that's a great idea, but, see, I just hired this infinite number of monkeys....

Copyright (c) 2001 Chris Lightfoot. All rights reserved.