My First Spam!

My new blog’s first spam attempt — I’m so proud! Although I didn’t notice the date, just that I had spam in the bucket, I’m pretty sure it showed up on Day 1, and normally I’d delete it without a second look. But when I read it, I just had to share.

In this prime example of spamaliciousness, the point was the link in the commenter’s name (of which I have deprived you without a moment of remorse), not the 97 words that make up the content of the post — wait, 96, because there’s an extra space in there dividing up a word. This truth will become glaringly obvious.

Have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

I truly wanted to send a small remark in order to appreciate you for these fabulous concepts you are showing at this site. My time-consuming internet lookup has at the end been recognized with good quality content to write about with my family. I โ€˜d repeat that many of us readers actually are unquestionably fortunate to exist in a fantastic website with very many outstanding people with useful points. I feel pretty blessed to have discovered the webpage and look forward to some more exciting moments reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

Let’s look at this. I mean, being homeless doesn’t have to deprive a person of hir critical faculties or sense of humor, right? (Also, “hir” is an attempt at a gender-neutral pronoun, not a typo. Just thought I’d make that clear up front.) Anyway, here goes — and I claim fair use, so if Mr/Ms Spammer has a complaint, zhe (heh) can stuff it.

First, there are clear signs that the original writer used an article-spinning program. To explain, for those who aren’t familiar with that term/idea: First, you write something. You want to change it up somewhat in order to be able to get more use out of it on the Web (without the search engines flagging you for duplicate content, which is a Bad Thing), or to personalize form emails (or comments…). But you don’t actually want to rewrite the material to make it different enough from the original to avoid said flags, etc., probably because to do it well, you actually have to know what you’re doing with the language. Not to mention judging how different is “different enough”.

So you seek out a program on the Web that will let you format your great article/comment/email in such a way that when you click the GO button, the program will swap words for you; usually, the format is something like [synonym1|synonym2|synonym3], with the program doing a random shuffle of the words within each set of brackets. And since you can set up as many bracketed sets as you’d like, and can use several words in each bracket, the number of theoretically different iterations of your original text is…well, big. There’s also the probability — indeed, the near certainty — that a person using a spinner is going to be guilty of egregious overuse of a thesaurus in order to have enough “suitable” alternative words or phrases to make the effort worthwhile in the first place.

My guess is that one bracket in the first sentence included, for example, [thank|appreciate|reward]. The problem with letting a spin program putter along on its own, unattended by an actual English-using human, is that you wind up with dreck like “to appreciate you for these fabulous concepts”. So, yes, that’s where I think the entertainment value begins.

The whole first sentence was obviously written with an eye toward buttering up the recipient with felicitous flattery, as if praise of a particularly fulsome sort was required to get the comment even a moment’s worth of thought in the direction of approval. Some of us, however, are not nitwits, and are therefore immune to such blatant blandishments.

(Did you like that bit of alliteration I put in? I hope so; I tend not to use it much, on the grounds it can so easily be overdone, but I thought the spam prose was purple enough to deserve it.)

To continue, the original writer appears to think that Many Adjectives Makes Writing Good! And we have many, many adjectives, both simple and compound, although when to hyphenate/not a compound adjective seems to be a little unclear to zim (heh again. I’ll stop doing that now, I promise). Out of those 96 words, 11 — more than 10 percent! — are some form of adjective:

  • small
  • fabulous
  • time-consuming
  • internet (yes, I consider this an adjective describing “lookup”. I am, however, torn as to whether or not “internet” should actually be capitalized, considering that when it’s a noun, it typically is)
  • good quality (either a compound adjective describing “content” — hyphenate! — or “good, quality” as two separate adjectives)
  • unquestionably
  • fantastic
  • outstanding
  • useful
  • pretty
  • exciting

And some of the adjective phrases have their own modifiers: these, very many, more. Adjectives are good and useful things, but this is too much.

You may also have noticed that for having so many words, there are very few sentences. Only 5, in fact. If you want to do the division, that works out to an average of 19.2 words per sentence. The longest is 25 words; the shortest, only 9, and 4 out of 5 are 19 words or more. Yes, I write long sentences. I hope they at least make better sense.

Let’s move on to the third sentence, “I โ€˜d repeat that many of us readers actually are unquestionably fortunate to exist in a fantastic website with very many outstanding people with useful points.” First, that extra space I mentioned earlier should be really visible now. Second, because of that space, what should be an apostrophe has defaulted to an opening single quotation mark. Third, how can the commenter repeat something that hasn’t even been mentioned once? Fourth, credit for correctly using “us” rather than “we”! Fifth… “actually”? Okay… Sixth, you exist in my website? I must have some kind of mad superpower to be able to make you exist IN my blog! Seventh, on the basis of one whole post, you’re calling it fantastic? Gee, thanks, I can feel your sincerity right through the Internet. Eighth, not only do you exist in my blog, so do very many other outstanding people! More superpowers! It would be a real drag to have merely average people in my blog. Ninth, it has useful points! Hey, after all that other stuff, “useful” is kind of a come-down. Almost a pedestrian compliment. I’m kinda hurt now.

I think I’ve beaten this piece of processed meat byproducts quite enough. And, as is often the way when one is writing about things editorial, I won’t be surprised if someone points out a mistake on my part. I only ask that you be gentle. ๐Ÿ™‚


1 Comment

Filed under language, library, spam

One response to “My First Spam!

  1. dcb

    Syd, a lovely critique of the spam!

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