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January 8th, 2004

What You Need to Know About Spam & Email Forwards

...or, simply put, why I hate them so much!

You wouldn't believe the asinine emails I get! The spam stuff is bad enough - but when it's just dumb people fowarding shit because they're too dumb to realize it's a scam, that makes you want to pull your hair out.

I've learned that the reason emails like this go around is for the purpose of "email farming". See, let's say I have a message (a joke, maybe) and I forward it to Jack, Tom, Jill, Harry and Habib. Jack sends it to 14 people. Tom sends it 2, Harry sends it 45 and Habib doesn't send it to anyone because his modem dies. Already my email has been circulated to 61 people who are also forwarding it to their friends, family and online pals. You can see how you can sometimes get a message in your Inbox that has already been forwarded to hundreds of people. Now let's say I'm a spammer who is farming for emails - in other words, looking for email addresses that I can send my spam to. From this one dumb email that I sent out, I am going to get back hundreds of email addresses that I can now send spam to - which, if you don't know, is a million-dollar a year industry.

So, when I get the dumb emails that are obviously concocted so gullible fools will send them on to everyone they know, I want to slap someone. There are the ones, like the one posted Monday, that say Bill Gates or some other lucrative figure is sending a certain amount of money to everyone that forwards their message on. If you really stopped and let common logic kick in, you would know this is completely unlikely, and really stupid. But, for some reason - and studies have proven this - if people see it on the computer screen, they believe it. For all the retarded shit that comes through in email, it is proven that people are more likely to believe it if read in this medium. Go figure. You get the ones with a ridiculously silly poem or limerick about friends & love - and it tells you to pass it on to everyone to remind them how much you love them. Again, email farming at its worst. This is also effective with "God" ones - "If you love God you'll forward this to as many people as you can!" It sounds silly, but it works. I'd guess that 98% of people that get such things do, indeed, forward them to mass amounts of people. There are the ones that tell a joke with no punch line - telling you that if you send it to umpteen number of people and hit certain keys on your keyboard, the punch line or some silly cartoon character will dance across the screen on your monitor. This ploy is also disguised as saying some department store is offering coupons for preposterous dollar amounts - and forwarding to blank number of people and hitting certain keys will make the coupon appear on your screen. People don't realize, or seem to forget, that it is impossible for sending an email to make anything appear on your computer or your screen. So that one works well, too. People, thinking they'll get something good or funny, start sending the thing to everyone they know.

And deep down, I believe these people do have common sense, and do know that they are complete idiots for flooding their friends' Inboxes with such crap. Because, 9 x's out of 10, they write at the top of the email, "I'm sorry, I just had to try this" or "Better safe than sorry" or "I don't usually send stuff like this, but what have I got to lose?" They're apologizing in advance for being dim-witted and irritating - so it's really hard to not want to throttle them. They know better, they're just hoping, that just maybe, Bill Gates will send them a check for $24,000, that $0.03 will be donated to some dying child for every person they forward to, that Macy's really is issuing hundreds of $125 coupons, or that God really will give two damn rat shits that they forwarded an email professing their adoration of him.

Did you say vulgar??

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a sweet, little, tongue-in-cheek note I sent my close friend who, referring to the fact that it was hard to keep his New Year's resolution to stop cursing around me, called me "vulgar".

No, no, I'm only teasing you. I don't mind (too much) you're calling me vulgar. Though I can't imagine what in the hell you're referring to? I'm such a quiet and mild-mannered little creature, there's no fucking way that you'd hear any damn bitching from me in any profuse displays of cursing or damning. Me, curse? For fuck's sake, whatever are you talking about? I don't jive with all that shit, and I'll damn the bastard that accuses me of using any fucking profanity. Fuck that fucking shit. I'd really hate to make an ass of myself or act like a sonofabitch by uttering such goddamn filth. You should know better. This bitch is too polite to be spewing forth profanities like some kind of dumb-fucking asshat! What the fuck? As far as I'm concerned, you can kiss my mother-fucking vulgar ass!!

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