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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Unending Onslaught of Junk E-mail

There’s nothing like waking up to 30 — thirty! — e-mails from total strangers looking to sell me something. I understand the concept behind “e-mail marketing,” for lack of a better term. I’ve even sent one or two likely annoying e-mails nudging folks to “check out the deals at Royal Steele Books.” And, I admit, the biggest annoyance merely amounts to not being able to leave my “business” e-mail open during the day due to constant false alarms about e-mail I actually care about.

However, what I don’t understand is how ridiculously stupid some of the attempts of junk e-mailers are to have me actually open their message. I also don’t understand how these efforts ever pay off, which they must given that they simply never stop.

Let’s think about this: Junk E-mailer sits down at his computer knowing he’s about to send annoying, unwanted e-mails to thousands of strangers. Even if he gets through the filters most of us have set-up (I don’t use them on the business account), he must realize he’s in jeopardy of his messages simply being deleted.

So, it would seem that their subject lines would be critical. Even with the name being foreign in our inbox, we’ll at least read the subject line. A snappy, funny, or intriguing phrase is essential to Junk E-mailer having success. It’s his “foot in the door.”

Right?

I picked out some of my favorite subject lines recently:

o Re: Or write by marking
o Linus, on peace
o but Fee, it deoxribonicleic
o Re: That tell an colony
o Jaquith it vanilla, and imp
o disambiguate censor
o What if you could fool your brain into believing that you are full? Amazing, but true!
o do can by fit endanger

Feel free to enlighten me if you know what the hell “but Fee, it deoxribonicleic” means. Is “do can by fit endanger” a secret message? At least “What if you could fool your brain into believing that you are full?” makes sense grammatically, but anybody biting on “Amazing, but true!” just isn’t paying attention.

Then there are the e-mails I shouldn’t even have to delete! I regularly receive e-mails that aren’t even close to my address, including those sent to:

o badboy57@comcast.net
o Sagal60
o Rue28

Rue? I mean, are you kidding? Do I seem like the actress who played the slutty Golden Girl?

Finally there was this:

From: Katelyn Huynh [mailto:CGbolson@donandres.com]
To: gbolson@comcast.net
Subject: his tell the keep shorn

Was this code for her family-tree research? Signs of a stroke?

The worst part of all this is that Junk E-mailer uses phony addresses, so there’s no chance to retaliate. Yet, there is one, very thin silver lining in this endless onslaught of annoying e-mails that we’re forced to delete on a daily basis. Now, at least we can appreciate telemarketers . . . who can be hung up on.

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