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[Spamming the Spammer!]

   Daniel Rosario


So I made my blog and was really anticipating feedback on my writing from people I didn't even know. Right enough, the very next day there was a mail from a Vanessa Lintner waiting in my inbox. I eagerly read it…

    Hello,

    I have visited your blog and noticed that your website is not listed on some search engines. I am sure that through our service the number of people who visit your website will definitely increase. SeekerCenter is a unique technology that instantly submits your website to over 500,000 search engines and directories -- a really low-cost and effective way to advertise your site. For more details please go to SeekerCenter.net.

    Give your website maximum exposure today!
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,
    Vanessa Lintner
    Sales & Marketing
    www.SeekerCenter.net
I was disappointed that the mail had nothing to do with the content of my blog. I was even more frustrated that a commercial enterprise had managed to spam me the very day I created my blog - The thought that spam sharks, as I call them, came to know about my site much before my own acquaintances did, was disheartening.

The complete lack of privacy and the feeling that I'm being watched in a Truman Show-esque way infuriated me.

I dashed off a reply to Ms Lintner -

    Hello,

    I have visited SeekerCenter and noticed that your website is not mentioned on my blog. I am sure that through my blog the number of people who visit your website will definitely increase. It is a really low-cost and effective way to advertise your site.

    Give your website maximum exposure today!
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,
    Daniel Rosario
    Sales & Marketing
Email like these are the flotsam and jetsam of the Internet, and if you find it hard to get rid off, you can at least bemuse yourself in a creative way.

SatireWire, for instance, actually holds an annual Poetry Spam contest, inviting users to submit poems made up of disjointed bits of spam. One of the winning entries in the 'freestyle' category was I Answered All My Spam. If you have an email account, you are bound to relate to the phrases in this poem.

Slightly more challenging is the 'Strictly Spam' section, where poetry has to entirely consist of actual sentences from spam - no extraneous words. Check out this poem if you are fed up of organisations thrusting university diplomas and Electrigel Crème at you.

The following song isn't from the above site, but aptly recaptures the feeling we have when we are thrilled to receive email, only to open it and find it's nothing but spam:

In the good old days, I would log on to see
What my trusty old mailbox had waiting for me
It would say I had mail, and I'd swell up with pride
Just to find there was nothing but adverts inside
Well, I whimpered and whined and I bitched and I swore
But the junk kept a-comin', 'til I hollered "NO MORE!"

Read on

This Web site lists 101 things you can do to a spammer. Some excerpts: 'Fill out those postage pre-paid magazine subscription cards using the address of the spammer,' and 'If they have a toll-free number, call from payphones and leave GRAPHIC and DETAILED messages.' However, they are satirical musings, and the site itself would not recommend such measures.

The Spam Letters is run by a guy called Jonathan Land, who actually replies to junk mail and uploads them onto his site. Very often it results in a chain of letters, stretching over a long period of time. Weekly additions come in the form of new spam or replies by spammers to Jonathan's seemingly genuine queries.

He has even been inundated with trade enquiries, 'samples attachments' and job applications from our subcontinent. Check out this guy who "have interested to work in abroad or import co-ordinator in India," and see the reply he got.

Also worth reading are his replies to familiar scams like Complimentary Disney Area Vacation, Sexual Enhancement & FREE Herbs! and Work At Home In Your Underwear!.

Courtesy a "complex arrangement of pipes and funnels," Spam Radio converts junk mail into a "streaming audio broadcast that can be enjoyed from anywhere on the Internet." You can tune in and listen to them read out the Nigerian scam spams, money-making schemes and how to become a legally ordained priest! Not all their stuff is suitable for sensitive ears, though.

There are even free services allowing you to encrypt your email into something resembling spam, to be decoded by the recipient. This is particularly helpful for those whose mail may be monitored by nosy parents. Spam Mimic is one such site, SpamMorpher being another.

Next time you get spam, your options are several: Try selling their own stuff back to them; ask them to swap their products with your (make-believe) goods; or just get to work on your submissions for the forthcoming Poetry Spam contest. The more spam you get, the more room for creativity.

Also Read:
-- Eight Years of Spam: A Special
-- Stress, Spam, Virus, Rumours!
-- 30 years of email
-- How to beat spam
-- Avoiding junk mail
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