Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

on spam

From Monty Python’s Spam sketch:

Wife: Have you got anything without spam?
Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.
Wife: I don't want ANY spam!

Spam is like the electronic equivalent of direct mail. I remember reading that direct mail had about a 3% success rate, meaning that of all the mail that was sent out, only 3% of it generated a response - and I don’t even think “response” included a sale. I wonder what response spam generates? Maybe less than 1%? I also wonder who on earth ever responds to a spam ad? I get a few each day by email and they are usually for university degrees, viagra, mortgages and software. Even if I was interested in these products, I would go out of my way to avoid buying from the people who sent me spam. I don’t think I’m alone in that either. So who is buying from the spammers? They must have someone buying. If no one ever bought a single thing, wouldn’t the spammers give up on the spamming? (I was going to compare spammers here to trained animals and behavioural response but I realized that would be unfair to the animals.)

I got a spam “comment” on an entry to my other Blog so I clicked on the link in the comment and went to the web site of the spammer. I looked around and found “contact” and sent them an email. It was very polite and would not have been rejected for language or anything. Nevertheless, I got a “could not deliver” message from my server. I am tempted to try an experiment and respond to a plain spam email and see what happens. But then, I fear getting a barrage of spam for even daring to click on a link and I don’t want to have to activate firewalls and things. This could make an interesting story for an investigative reporter, perhaps. But for now, all I plan to do is rant about it a little here.


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