Email is still the best thing on the internet
Getting an email address was once a nerdy right of passage for Gen-Xers arriving on college campuses. Now, the kids are waging a war of indifference on poor old email, culling the weak and infirm old-people technology. One American professor maintained that, to his students, "e-mail was as antiquated as the spellings 'chuse' and 'musick' in the works by Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards." The vice-chancellor of Exeter University claimed, "There is no point in emailing students any more." The youth appear to think there are better, faster, more exciting ways to communicate than stupid email.
Yet, despite all the prognosticators predicting it will—choose the violence level of your metaphor—go out of style, be put out to pasture, or taken out back and shot, email grinds on.
But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:
Unraveling the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery
For the past 18 months
, engineers at PayPal, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and nine
other technology companies have spent their off-hours (and some on-hours) working hand in hand to tackle the problem that plagues them all: e-mail phishing
. The result is DMARC
, or, "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance". It's not new, but puts SPF
to work in a new way
Global spam email levels suddenly fall
. The volume of email spam has been dropping for 5 months, but during the holidays fell below 25% of August 2010 levels
. [more inside]
Why aren't we furious about email's dysfunction? Spam just keeps getting worse
. And it's been bad for a long time
. The spam/virus anti-spam/anti-virus arms-race continues to generate profits for spammers and anti-spammers
at everyone else's expense. Attachments maybe weren't a good idea. And neither was the reply-all button. Attempts at "fixing" email are the subject of ridicule
, and perhaps deservedly so. Google Wave was released as an alternative to email; few seem to care. What gives? Are we really stuck with this crap?
The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine
Canada's second-oldest magazine, published since 1920, will be changing its name
because in this age of electronic communications its emails keep getting removed by spam filters.
"Analysis of traffic logs (PDF)
of email received by a large UK ISP shows considerable disparity between the proportions of spam received by addresses with different first characters." [more inside]
“Thank you for your recent E-mail. I appreciate your concern. However, I am, at this time, completely satisfied with the size of my penis.”
Says a Gizmodo post
: Now I consider myself fairly well versed in penis lengthening—a skill introduced to me, inadvertently, by my 6th grade math teacher—but I did not realize one could become a medical doctor and specialize in the topic.
They also point to a similar device
mentioned in an earlier post. Ow.
Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines. (via The Ultimate Insult
85% of all email is spam. 83%
of all email is spam. Between 80 and 90%
of all email is spam. 80%
of all email is spam. 76%
of all email is spam. Between 64 and 78%
of all email is spam. 64%
of all email is spam. 63%
of all email is spam. 60%
of all email is spam. 52%
of all email in 2004 will be spam. 50%
of all email is spam. By 2006 98%
of all email will be spam.
Out of the Inbox and Into the Closet?
I wan7 my XXXXXXXL sh1rt N0W.
Spam: This Time It's Personal
. Andy Markley was really looking forward to a work-free Labor Day weekend far away from his computer. But he made the mistake of checking his inbox before he left for his planned holiday.
"Pick. Lock. And Load.
It's like flicking a booger at spam." (from linkfilter)
If someone says spam,
tacky unsolicited emails usually come to mind instead of that meat product
Watch Hormel fight back to assert their trademark rights.
Top Ten Spam Subject Lines
. (PDF) Inside: I'll save you the clickthrough
Nigerian email scam dudes.
Possibly the first visual evidence of the rapscallions behind the scam that just keeps on sucking in new 'investors'.
Like most Nigerians, you're probably finding that it's increasingly difficult to earn a decent living from email. That's why you need to attend the 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference.
Perhaps you've seen the new MSN commercials that use M$'s "spam-blocking" technology to support their ISP service. Maybe you've read fluff pieces like these
, where AOL and Microsoft execs are allowed to wax poetic about their deep anti-spam convictions:
"'I get spam too, and I am as fed up with it as all of our members are,' AOL chief executive Jonathan F. Miller said yesterday."
"'To help keep intruders at bay,' Microsoft said, "we must all do our part.'"
So what's this
"'AOL and Microsoft argue there is a place for legitimate unsolicited e-mail in the marketplace,' said Marc Berejka, Microsoft's senior director of public policy."
There is Naked Flute Girl, Add Four Inches to Your Penis Now.
21st-century cultural-commentary bebop? Mark Morford of the SF Gate writes an entire column composed of nothing but copy from e-mail spam ads culled from his own inbox. Ignoring the depression that I recognize half of it, reading it out loud is virtually art-house hypnotic.
Distributed spam filtering.
Sure, your spam filter
may be hot stuff, but Spamnet takes filtering to the communal level. With its easy install, point and click simplicity, and Outlook support could Spamnet be the SpamCop
for the masses?
Spammers want e-mail addresses. Give them e-mail addresses. Tons of e-mail addresses. This handy PHP script will add as many fake e-mail addresses to your web site as you want. 20 is the default, with command and space delimited, just like this:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
And each call to the web site will give the spam harvester 20 spanking new addresses. (Web site is german, but the script is in english)
Verizon v. Ralsky and Additional Benefits LCC
Verizon is suing Alan Ralsky in Federal court for sending enough spam -- more than 56 gigabytes -- to "virtually paralyze" their e-mail servers on at least two occaisions. The trial begins Sept. 23. Ralsky's response: "These (anti-spammers) feel we've infringed on their personal space. They want to own the Internet." Ralsky and his lawyer claim that he is picked on because he is open about what he does, yet Ralsky denied it
to Brian Livingston last year. More
Some good anti-spam information sources and tools include Spam Laws
, and Spamcon
It takes all kinds: Marketing guy claims "I love spam."
i hate spam, but i love spamradio...
the guys at spamradio use text to speech software on spam messages they recieve and mix the results with ambient music for truly disturbing and amazing results. from "run your own porn site"
to "start spamming now"
, this is quite a quirky bit of audio.
Break the Chain
has all kinds of nifty resources for stopping the neverending flux of chain mail wandering through your e-mail box, though if you're like me, you'll probably just read through the chain archives for their amusement. A nice companion to Snopes
for your hoax-debunking needs.
Ironic Spam article
Does anyone find it ironic that a NY Times article on the horrors of spam is accompanied by one of those ads that automatically plays annoying music and requires you to find and then click on the off switch every time the page loads?
Anthrax via e-mail? Don't panic, it's from SatireWire.
MSN blocks its subscribers
from sending mail with non-Outlook mail clients, as of last week. Like AOL, MSN hasn't allowed its subscribers to check their MSN mail with non-MS mail clients since the beginning
. Last April, they banned access
to non-MSN SMTP servers (to block spam relaying
), but you could still send mail to other ISPs through MSN's SMTP server using your mail client of choice with a simple fix
. Now, you can only do so if you switch to Outlook or Outlook Express (quietly announced on their site
and via e-mail
). All others (Eudora
, Yahoo Mail
, Netscape Messenger
) are left cold. (more inside...)
Has anyone noticed an increase in spam after registering with Weblogs.com
Whenever I have to give a valid email address to a site (for authentication or whatever), I usually give them firstname.lastname@example.org . This is to protect me from spam harvesters. Now, I feel quite sure that the Weblogs/Userland guys aren't harvesting email addresses for commercial purposes, but today's spam for "LONG DISTANCE AT 1.4 CENTS PER MINUTE" marks the second spam in two weeks addressed to weblogs@mysite . Has anyone else noticed this trend?
is a temporary mail forwarding service.
It's free and takes about 30 seconds to set up a bogus email address that will expire after a period of time (the default interval is 12 hours). It's great for signing up to those FREE!! trial Internet services without automatically becoming an "asset" of some database marketing (read: spam) crowd. Because it's your inbox.
Oh yeah, please use this power for good. Don't use it to sign up to Metafilter or anything, I'm sure Matt will ban it anyway.
gets underway in one month. It's a meeting of the minds to crush spam and guys like this
. But it's probably too late. Can legislation ever make a dent in spam? Are technical solutions possible (no open SMTP ports allowed)?
Notice of Revocation of Independence
appears to be spamming all over email. I found it in several listbots and egroups
, and after some intensive searching I think I may
have found the original source
but I'm guessing and may be wrong
. Very funny, very telling, and with more than a grain of wake up call
to it. Considering how we take our freedom for granted in America, I question whether or not we really deserve it any longer.
The GOP just spammed me.
I received an email sent supposedly on behalf of "Jim Nicholson, Chairman, Republican National Committee" inviting me to become an "eChampion":
Once you've registered as an eChampion, you will receive fact-filled e-mails twice a week on the upcoming election, the candidates' stands on issues, etc. Your role as an eChampion is to send these e-mails on to AS MANY friends, neighbors and family members as possible, and invite them to register as eChampions themselves at http://www.echampions2000.com.
No, I didn't opt-in to some Republican mailing list. For a start, I'm Canadian, in Canada, and if I was going to vote for a right-wing wing-nut, it would be Stockwell Day
. Talk about "idea viri"...
Fight spam with silly human tricks!
This service is built around a low rent Turing test. Anyone who is not already on your list of approved correspondents gets their message bounced back to them. If the poor sod can't pass a "fast and simple" challenge,
their mail won't be passed on to you as they'll be presumed to be a spambot. I use Pine: I guess I'd fail. (Found via Webmonkey
Wish I'd Said That Dept.
If the privacy-invaders are going to collect so much information on me, why can't they seem to USE IT?
We're all doomed.
You think the spam level is bad now, just wait.
So I just got a bizarre e-mail from a "Yustas Kotz-Gottlieb." Has anyone ever got one? I'll post the entire text as a comment. It appears to be an atrocious, perhaps Mad Lib-generated essay on an imaginary painting. Based on an AltaVista search for "Jaisini," I've concluded that this person posts the essay (and others) on random guestbooks and e-mails it to random people (like me). This
is the closest I can find to a cogent explanation, but I'm still bumfuzzled as to the point. Fake essays as performance art? It's like McSweeney's
, as guest-edited by Kafka.
Can you help a brother out with a little money laundering?
So, I was thinking about this otherwise unremarkable spam while cleaning out my inbox when it dawned on me how familiar it was. I have seen this letter (with slight modifications to suit the contemporary political news from Nigeria) three times in my life. The first one I remember was over 10 years ago
(on oniony paper, soft brown fibery envelope, red mock-official stamp). And I was wondering: how many of you have seen a postal version of this letter? Did I just fluke out, or is this letter so common that it is some obscure junk mail counterpart to Coca-cola, Princess Diana & Baywatch
? I kind of like to think of it as the fraudspam equivalent of the nervous Don Knotts
. 74 useless messages in 30 days. Thanks spammers.