Spam Sign 5: Vagueness
A little bit about the subject matter of the email. It’s supposedly from a girl I used to chat with on Facebook. She has broken up with her boyfriend and is moving to where I live, so she wants to hang out. Also, she strips in front of a webcam and can give me a free bypass code so that I can login and watch her. The end. I’ve just summarized the 1000 word email in a few sentences for your reading pleasure. You owe me 10 minutes of your life.
It’s a very elaborate story, ruined entirely by the fact that it’s necessarily generic. It’s nice to be repeatedly called “babe” and even “bebe” by a Postmaster, but I do have a real name and I expect it to occasionally be used. Also, she’s moving “RIGHT EFFING NEAR” me?! No way, that’s extremely precise! Is she moving to my city? My street? Is she behind me right now?
The longer the story goes on the more obvious it becomes that “the girl” doesn’t know a single specific fact about me, so the whole illusion just falls apart.
Spam Sign 6: “Colloquial” writing style
In a misguided attempt to give the message an air of authenticity the sender writes like a teenage girl. Correction: the sender assumes s(he)’s writing like a teenage girl. Unfortunately, her knowledge on teenage girls’ writing style is gathered from Twitter posts, Facebook status updates and stereotypes perpetuated by shows like Jersey Shore.
The end result is less “teenage girl” and more “teenage girl having an epileptic seizure and loving every second of it”. Words are randomly capitalized. Sporadic “lol” and “HAHA” are inserted at arbitrary points completely unrelated to subject matter. There are more misspellings than in the first draft of George W. Bush’s memoirs (something you can probably pick up on eBay). Here’s a good snippet, capturing all three:
“…either online or on the fone before i get there enxt week.. i hope u remmeber me and still wanna chill and arent married yet lol.. OH YA also..”
Sure, when you’re typing really fast and ignoring the red lines every spell-checker puts under anything you misspell, you’re bound to make a few typos and make up a few new nouns. However, when every other word you type has its first and second letters swapped, it comes off a bit contrived. That, or you’ve got a very specific form of dyslexia.
Spam Sign 7: Logic failures
Let’s say you’ve failed to notice that you were sent a “Private Confidential” email that also went to seven other people. Let’s imagine you’ve overlooked that you’re talking to a dyslexic Postmaster who pretends to know you. Maybe you’re tired, or stressed, or aliens have performed terrible experiments on your brain. Let’s pretend you’ve ignored all of the above red flags and continued to read the message in full.
You will very soon notice that many of the statements are contradictory, difficult to believe, or plain nuts. Here are just a few examples:
1) “BABE… i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of garbage and keeps freezing..”
So, are you not sure whether your emails are getting through, or are you saying you haven’t been able to send any because your computer keeps freezing? Did you hope that your messages were delivered to me through the power of wishful thinking? Or is this an IQ test to see whether I’m worthy of a free bypass code?
2) “ok WELLLL… and dont get all weirded out on me.. i work on a webcam chat community site and i get paid to chat with people and get naked HHAHA… BOMB right :)? I KNOW…”
Yes, total BOMB! I’m sorry, have you seen the Internet before? In case you haven’t, it’s a place that’s 90% porn and 10% some other stuff. There are sites catering to every fetish imaginable and content is at your fingertips within seconds.
I don’t mean to sound cynical or to express support for the porn industry (that’s for another blog post), but you’re expecting to shock someone by being naked in front of a webcam in the year 2012? Who’s your target audience for this? If there’s someone out there who finds it shocking that you strip in front of a webcam, you’re probably better off sending them messages via carrier pigeons instead of emails.
3) “if u dont wanna come chat i understand but its really the only palce to find me now days..if u email me abck ill probably get it once i get there after my internet is setup so about 2-3 weeks fomr now..”
Holy crap! You have the power to sell stripteases in an online chatroom and send emails without being connected to the Internet?! That’s freaking awesome! Give me that free bypass code, I’m logging on, because this I’ve got to see!
Those are the things to watch out for, in case you actually open any “Private Confidential” mails from Postmasters (like I do). Sadly, an interesting spam premise is ruined by so many obvious spam signs. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the effort. All I’m saying is that whoever composed that message should’ve probably just gone with: “FREE NAKED GIRLS, CLICK HERE”.