The Ruminator

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Thursday, April 10, 2003

What does your spam say about you?

Like everyone with an email address, I get a fair amount of spam, and the Hotmail account just seems to attract it. I have noticed that I seem to get the same categories of spam all the time, and I'm starting to wonder what this says about me and my internet usage.

For example, I must be fairly unique among email users in never, ever getting spammed with porn. I don't know why. One of my housemates was until recently receiving truly frightening quantities of hardcore lesbian porn at her Hotmail account, despite activating the junk mail filters. Apparently I'm just not in that target demographic.

On the other hand I do get a lot of those messages advertising penis extensions.

I also keep getting messages inviting me to purchase university degrees from a variety of institutions. I would be vaguely curious to know how realistic they look, but I seem to get by with the degree I actually earned.

I've been getting a lot of copies of what was originally known as the Nigerian scam, both at my personal and work accounts. It seems to have become international now. You know the one - Greetings and the blessings of the Lord to you. I wish to explain my reaching out to you. I am the son / daughter / wife / brother / assistant to the late military / political / religious leader of Kenya / Nigeria / etc. When he died / was killed / was overthrown I came into possession of some US$5-100 million dollars. This money is now in a series of European bank accounts. Since I am under house arrest / in exile I am unable to access these funds. I seek a trustworthy partner into whose account I can deposit this money. In exchange for providing your bank account details, I will give you 20-50% of the total sum. May God bless you for your kind understanding. Sure you will buddy. Got any bridges for sale?

The other thing I keep getting in my personal and work accounts are coy messages from, telling me that someone has a crush on me. The idea is that you are supposed to guess who by entering the email addresses of potential admirers. If you guess correctly you get a congratulatory message and encouragement to go on a date. My favourite message so far came with the subject line "Less dissing, more kissing", and a rebuke for not having guessed my admirer. I presume (sincerely hope) that no one I know would resort to such a measure to let me know. It appears to be a pathetic excuse to send me spam from the website's sponsors.

If I took all this spam into account and attempted to use it as a picture of my life, it would be really depressing. According to the world of internet spam, I am in need of money, qualifications, and a date with a guy with a large dick.

Of course the really depressing thing about spam is when you are expecting a message from someone. You log into your account and see that you have six new messages, anticipation grows, and then they all turn out to be crap. God forbid you should actually get a message from someone you haven't heard from in a while. Like, oh I don't know, your brother. E-mail me you lazy bastard. And call your mother.