Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who is this Jesus McPherson?

In 2003, the Center for Democracy & Technology did a study to determine the source of Internet spam. I discovered the results of their study today because I am irritated at the amount of spam I receive and I would like to know what I did to deserve it. I had 500 spam emails waiting for me after the Thanksgiving holiday. Yes, they were caught in a spam folder, but I still had to delete them and make sure nothing legitimate got stuck in the folder. So I’m looking for someone to blame. Should it be, for example, my family members who send me those ridiculous forwards? Should it be my company for posting my email address on our websites? Should I blame the government, just because? Or should I blame the individual spammers, like today’s Jesus McPherson, who said he was a nice girl, just a little bit bored, and wanted to know if I was interested in chatting?
To summarize the findings of the study group, it turns out I should blame both myself and my company. Which is kind of a bummer, as I was really gunning for Jesus. It turns out that the addresses that receive the most spam are the ones that are posted on websites or in newsgroups. Ok, this is not entirely surprising, but what is one to do? The CDT suggests having your address listed as todd.blankenship at gmail dot com. Of course, you should only do this if your name is Todd Blankenship. Otherwise, it’s confusing.
The other major cause of spam receipt is filling out online forms and including your email address. Basically, don’t do that. Or, if you just can’t resist taking online quizzes and playing games, create an email address specifically for that use and deal with the fact that it is going to get spammed like crazy.
Wikipedia (Source of all Truths) reports that spam messages currently comprise an estimated 70-95% of all the email in the world and that spam cost businesses in the US more than $13 billion this year. I believe this because Jesus McPherson is only one of the many nice girls who want to chat with me on a daily basis. Jesus, if you’re reading this, let’s talk around 3pm. That’s usually when I hit my wall and need a pick-me-up.

Also from Wikipedia:
It is widely believed the term spam is derived from the 1970 Monty Python SPAM sketch, set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes SPAM luncheon meat. As the server recites the SPAM-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating "SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM... lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM", hence "SPAMming" the dialogue.

If this is true, it’s just fabulous information.


Chat said...

I am impressed that you actually go into your Spam folder! I don't even bother with the 500 or so in my Gmail account and the over 6000 tagged in my Work email spam folder.

I just wait for someone to complain that they didn't hear back from me before I check the folder. :)

Sarah said...

Hmmm, when you put it that way... it is kind of freakish. Just leave the spam alone. Novel. I'll try it.