Spiced ham

June 18, 2006

We all hate spam, everyone hates spam, every single person with an email address.  I bet even spammers hate spam – they must get it from others and be irate, just as you and I, the non-spammers, are.  (At least I hope so). 

But you know something, they wouldn't keep doing it if there weren't some people who bought stuff off them, because of spam.  I'm toying with the idea that that is indeed a greater crime than sending the spam in the first place.   Forget the laws against sending spam – let's deal with the demand side of the equation.  Although Death To All Who Buy From Spam is less catchy that Death To Spammers!

I probably accidentally delete legitimate emails when I shovel my inbox free of those nasty unsolicited emails from total and utter strangers trying to get me to:
a) Buy viagra, cialis, prozac, and Dog only knows what other "embarassing" drugs that many people assumedly don't want to have to go to the doctor to get.  (Surely you don't want to take these drugs unless you need them?  In which case, shouldn't you check out whether they are necessary with an expert first?)
b) Enrol in some dodgy "Internet University" to get a piece of paper that certifies I am a Doctor of Nanotechnology, which no one will believe, except possibly for strangers you meet in dating chat rooms online. 
c) Visit their porn site, to look at hot babes and assumedly start paying per view at some point, or clicking through to the ads on their sites so they get some dosh out of the time spent programming that 'bot to harvest addresses from the internet.
d) Help out the internet equivalent of a little old lady (the child of a deposed legitimate ruler of a little known third world nation) to get their money back, whilst taking a handy cut for myself which will inevitably turn into a total raid of my bank account and possibly the stealing of my identity.

Spamming enrages me because I can't escape it.  I got an Xtra address about a year ago specifically because of their spam filter.  I shelled out because I wanted to avoid the 100-odd spam emails I was getting every single day.  It worked for about 5 months, with only a few hardy spams making it through, but now it is as bad as ever. 

I'm quite cynical about Xtra's involvement in all this.  At first the spam was virtually non-existent, but now it's at least 100 a day (again).  If I'm away for a few days it mounts to uncontrollable levels.  Not that long ago Xtra started marketing an additional "Security Suite", which allegedly stops spam for a bit of extra cash in their pockets (and out of yours and mine).  Now the reason I switched to Xtra in the first place was because of the spam filter included – so what is the difference between the spam filter I allegedly already have and the one that costs (more) money?  My guess is it's the 100 spams a day that I'm getting now, which I didn't used to get…

I've also noticed that the free email addresses I maintain (Hotmail and Gmail) for using when my address will actually be available on the internet get little spam, and it is all, accurately, directed to the Junk Mail folder.  I'm not giving MSN or Google any money for this service, but I am paying Xtra.  So how come the free service can do it fine but the paid one can't?  A mystery that it's beyond me to unravel.

And by the way, there's an official website for actual SPAM (as in that which comes in a can), which is really quite witty.  Apparently the use of the term spam for unsolicited commercial email comes directly from the Viking Spam Skit in Monty Python.  It's good to know these things.

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