Spam Principle #1

I’ve seen spammers use incomprehensible text before, but one email I got today was the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve included the text below, but I’m afraid it doesn’t do the email justice. It was actually styled very professionally. The text of the email was in a nice blue box, and the link was in a classy looking button at the bottom. Why they would go to so much trouble to make garbage text look nice is beyond my power to comprehend.

Here’s the email:

bq.. Hewl_lVo d1Iear home own^er,

We haInv,e been [email protected] that yLouVyr m=ortga?gzCe raHte is fixCed at a very h`igh in.teres)t rate. TPhereCfore you arxe cu’rrentXly overpayinhg, wMhich suArms-uEp to tho>usaynds of doll$arXxs annually .

Luckily for you we c2an g:uIarantee th*e lowest rates iln the U.S. (3.36%). So humrry beca6use the rate forecast is not lookin’g good!

There is no oblEi2xgation, and it’s FRchEE

Lock on the 3.36%, eAnven with bad credit~!

Click Her)e Now For D8et5ails

REMOVE HzERE

p. The links appear exactly as they did in the email, but I’ve broken them to protect the innocent.

I realize this unreadable text is used to overcome spam filters (and in this case, it worked), but how do they ever hope to sell anything using that tactic?

There’s a reason I’m blocking this kind of mail in the first place: I don’t want the product! When I saw it come into my inbox I didn’t say, “Oh! Silly me. Why was I blocking that? Boy, I sure am glad these guys are smart enough to get around my spam filter. I would’ve missed out on this great opportunity.”

No. No. No.

Spammers, let me teach you a very important principle. It’s called “demographics”. There’s a reason you don’t see feminine napkins advertised during morning cartoons, or Cheat Commandos playsets advertised during late night dramas.

Spam filters are a GOOD thing for you. Spam filters weed out all the people who don’t want whatever crap you’re selling, and guarantee that when you send out a professional looking email, it will reach only the people who are genuinely interested. Do yourself a favor: quit wasting your money marketing to the wrong demographic! Your unintelligible text is sabotaging your credibility with people who might actually want your product.

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  • Well, I think what they’re thinking is that a large number of people nowadays are going with big free mail clients like gmail, hotmail, etc. that perform some sort filtering on the user’s behalf (I’m not sure which ones actually do this). So the users haven’t actually said “I don’t want these messages.” And think about it. If it’s hard to get into the depraved mind of a spammer, how hard is it to understand the motivations of those who actually respond to spam this like?

  • Joey

    That’s good thinking Chris, but unfortunately, my address isn’t with a free service. That tactic might indeed be advantageous if they are spamming a big list of hotmail accounts, but why use that tactic on a list of addresses from obscure domains like mine? :-?