March 16, 2006


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And the Spammie goes to...
Everything else gets awards, why not bulk e-mail?
By John “jaQ” Andrews

This column is being written the night after staying up to watch the Oscars. Amy Diaz did pretty well with her predictions (even if she can’t spell “McMurtry” to save her life), so I’m in the mood to impose my opinions on the world.
There is no form of media that affects our lives as much as spam. How many e-mails do you get per day? How many of them are heartwarming, intelligent communiqués? And how many of them want to enlarge your private areas?

Most unintelligible
Subject: $B6[5^9pCN$”$j!*!*_(B
As far as I can tell, this is an ad for a porn site. The only identifiable characters within the actual message are “3” and a Web address including the phrase “GIRLGIRL.”

Most timely
Subject: Visit our new online pharmacy and save upto 85%
From: []
This message arrived just the other day with a timestamp of 6/27/2001. This clever trick placed the e-mail wayyyyy at the bottom of my inbox, forcing me to go find it and look at it to make sure it wasn’t something I needed. And, lo and behold, it offered Viagra, Cialis (super Viagra), Levitra, Propecia and much much more for low, low prices! No doctor visits and no prescriptions!

Most derivative
From: Kumar Washim
The estimable Mr. Washim is not, as I first suspected, from Nigeria. In fact, he is “Chairman of contract award and monitoring committee of Ministry of Urban and rural development, my duty as empowered by the Mauritius Government.” That makes his offer to give me 25 percent of $22.3 million so much more legitimate-sounding. See, he needs to pay some contractors through a foreign bank, and ... well, the details aren’t important. What’s cool is that he needs only five percent of the cash to pay the contractors, and the remaining 70 percent he’ll use in a joint business venture of my choosing!

Most convincing
Subject: Verify your PayPal account
From: Account Service
Those PayPal folks sure are focused on excellent customer service. Apparently someone tried to log in to my account, so they suspended it! They tried to call me to notify me, but I guess I wasn’t home and my answering machine didn’t work. I don’t even remember giving them my number, but they tracked me down! Those guys. Then, they found an e-mail address of mine that isn’t even registered with PayPal and notified me that way. Wow. I’m sure glad they sent me a new Web address to re-authorize my account. I noticed that the address isn’t even on, so it must be super-secure.
Remember, folks, spam isn’t just the mail you get without ever having to respond. It’s the mail that keeps on coming. Treasure that.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss these articles and more at

03/16/2006 And the Spammie goes to...
03/09/2006 Take in the Vista
03/02/2006 Cheap moviemaking
02/23/2006 Go directly to iJail
02/16/2006 Will you stamp your e-mail?
02/09/2006 War of the machines
02/02/2006 Faster than a speeding packet

01/26/2006 Free software made simple
01/19/2006 The Worst of CES
01/12/2006 Radio you
01/05/2006 Making Movies
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