Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Spammers, Mistarget Marketing, and Streamlined Bigamy

One of the spammers' newest tools to escape e-mail spam filters is sending an e-mail whose visible text actually takes the form of a graphic--thus, current spam filters can't catch references to aphrodesiac substances, mortgage refinancing, and other popular spam topics. (These messages probably contain some text to confuse the filters, but this text--if it is present--is not readily visible.)

These spam messages usually contain some rather strange subject lines. I recently received one ostensibly about "streaml[ining] bigamy." I admit I am rather curious about what this idea entails, let alone how it can be done. Yet, sending this type of message to a prude like me seems like a gross instance of mistarget marketing. It is almost as wasteful as the times when a disgusting, sleezy outfit calling itself Adam and Eve has offered to send me its filthy catalog! Yet, of course, efficiency is not important to most spammers.

This is the second time I have received a graphic (literally, not figuratively) message whose subject heading contained the word bigamy. One hypothesis is that words that occur in the news may be more likely to get through spam filters since a lot of people now subscribe to news alerts.

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