Monday, March 18, 2002

Email Spam Ponderings

Back in the infancy of the internet, we signed up on some mailing lists. I think I signed up for something X-files related. There may have been others. Little did we know the insidious world of Internet marketing would be chomping the bit to send us offers that we just couldn't live without. But no, really, we can. We can live without the stuff being peddled at us.

It started out small. Offers from for hotel rooms after we went on vacations. Offers from Travelocity for discounts on car rental rates, when we never rent cars.

We deleted the messages and proceeded with life. The friend to marketing email ratio was about 5 to 1, friends in the lead.

Time went on, as is its wont, and now it is 2002.

We get email from all the corners of this globe, telling us of the virtues of some FDA shunned wonder drugs, penis enlargements without surgery, how to get secret info on anyone/anywhere, how to correct errors in your credit history for just $39.99 (which is bullshit, don't listen to them).

It will not stop. And it is getting worse by the minute.

Lately we've been getting a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of porn related email advertisings.

"What do high school girls do when they get home and mommy and daddy are still at work? Watch these girls lick and suck..."

Uh, no thank you.

We've gotten anime porn offers, you know, the Japanimation style of Pokemon and Sailor Moon. They start with "teaser" graphics, and a link to their official site where you can pay to watch cartoon sex... live action or comic book style "lay" outs. I don't get enough real human sex, why do I want to watch someone who looks like the girl from Team Rocket get a little somethin' something. Obviously Barenaked Ladies weren't far off when they sang "Gotta get in tune with Sailor Moon cause that cartoon has got the boom anime babes that make me think the wrong thing." People have taken it that extra step. Purple haired girl with a strange jewel in the middle of her forehead taking a hot beef injection from both lower orifices with a big happy smile on her face and sparkle in her eye while flashing the peace sign... "Click here for more!"

Uh, again. No thanks. Now I have to puke when I watch "Tenchi in Tokyo."

Another recent advertisement invites me to come "Ride the Cum Bus..." Uh, NO!!!! Ewww!

I can't imagine a bus full of such a substance. How foul! And how not at all alluring ... that phrase doesn't even turn me on.

The Cum Bus. Aw, ick!

I have visions in my mind of people slipping off seats or trying to walk down the aisle to ask if this bus stops at Uphams Corner and slipping right through the big front windows as the driver steps on the brakes, pointing at the sign "Do Not Talk To Driver."

The newest junk mail that I'm receiving states "Urgent Billing Statement -- Account Past Due" in the subject line. Shit! You gotta be kidding me!

I open the message and it is a mortgage company trying to get me to sign up for a refinance with them at a low rate. How deceptive is that shit? I don't even look anymore if I see anything about an account, or past due. None of my actual real live having to do with my money creditors HAVE my email. Screw these smarmy bastards.

And over the past several days, almost every friggin day, without fail, some schmuck with atrocious grammar skills sends me email telling me the "USA Beretts Are Here.. Get Then NOW!"


Two dots in an ellipses?


Please, If you are going to send me crap via email, for crying aloud from the top of the holy mountain, spell shit right, wouldya??? And at the bottom of the message is the new standard disclaimer spammers use:

Please Note: Replying to this email will not get you unsubscribed. This email is not sent unsolicited. This message is sent to subscribers ONLY. You received this email because you agreed to get third party offers from another site. If you have questions about this mailing please email...

Yeah, maybe I did in 1996 when I signed up for a yahoo discussion list or something. Now look what it's gotten me. You fuckers bought the email list of subscribers from some other jackass who bought the list, which had been acquired from a company that was going out of business and needed to raise capital so they sold names on their list for a buck a piece to the first willing vulture.

Fuck you all. I am so exhausted by the amount of absolute shit I have in my inbox. You all suck major donkey ass. I've had it.

Guess how many times I've written that to one of these jackasses who give you the opportunity to "unsubscribe."


You know why? Because if human eyes actually see my message do you think they'll actually look into their black, shrunken, evil souls and say "Jeeesh, do you think there are people out there who don't want to learn how to make money from home as a certified llama inspector? Perhaps we shouldn't be sending this stuff out?"

No. They'll send more.

And they'll sell my name to other dickwads who will send me even MORE insidiously wicked and evil stuff. Like I need that.

As is, the friend to junk, shitty bastard, marketing weasel email ratio has fallen from 5:1 to about 1:30. I have three email accounts. The original one we signed up for with our dial up, a hotmail account that I use for things like office online football pools and other mailing lists, and the email which I hold as sacred. It is the only one I check with any frequency.

If I close my dial up account, my provider will be stuck with 100 messages a day from natural herbal supplement dealers and natural heroin equivalent types, and ink sales people (I get offers for 75% off of INK for crissake! Why the fuck do I need 75% off of INK! I don't buy fucking INK!!!) It will crash all their POP3 mail servers. They'll be toast.

The hotmail account I expect to be full of junk mail, because I deliberately set it up that way. To be the black hole of such kinds of email for me.

And the personal mail, well as of late people are using web crawlers to find email addresses on line, and I'm starting to get unsolicited, unwanted, unnecessary messages there, insisting that the messages are "Information You Requested on Viagra for Women." No. I'da used the hotmail account if I needed Viagra for Women. Or, I'da looked at the hot teenage girls doing stuff with dogs and pate de fois gras (did I spell that incorrectly? Who cares. Not me. I'm ranting, and correct spelling doesn't matter when ranting).

Oh my GOD I am so annoyed by this shit.

Forgive me, please, dear reader. I am just on a total tear after getting some things that I just really do not give a flying rats ass on a cracker about. I think, by far, this is the rantiest entry I've ever done. I hope it makes you laugh as you picture me freaking out in my computer chair.

I wish I had a machine that would fill the forms out or reply to these messages to the actual senders, and fire them back over and over and over and over again, with fake ass names and anonymous fake email routings, until they crashed all their systems. That'd be my dream. Bruce Cockburn once sang "If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die!" And that's how I feel, only instead of a rocket launcher it'd be a really good script to deluge their crap-spewing servers. Yeah, I'd make somebody pay.

I remember being in college and working in the mailroom with my good friend Gregg. We had a super nice, fun boss who let us listen to all kinds of great music while we were working. We stuffed mailboxes. It was our job. Gregg and I worked there for a summer. It was, by far, one of the funnest jobs I've ever had.

One day, a particularly serious, very religious youth ministries/music major guy named Steve came to the back door of the mailroom. He was raging, in as raging a way as a guy like Ned Flanders can rage. A livid Steve.

"I don't think this is very funny..." Steve said as he handed me the envelope advertisement bedecked with scantily clad babes, and banners offering 70% off the news stand price of Playboy. "I cannot believe you would put this in my mailbox, this is smut! Pure smut. It's disgusting. I'm writing a letter to the student life office. I'm telling the president of the college."

He was almost shaking.

Dave, the boss guy, came over and said, "You're name is on it. We put it in your box. That's what we do. We're the mailroom."

"Yes, I SEE my name is on it, but I don't want it. It's pornographic and I can't believe you'd actually allow this to be put in people's mailboxes at this college," was Steve's answer.

"It has your name on it, as objectionable as a Christian community may feel about this kind of thing, we are not in the position at all to make decisions as to what goes into your mailbox or not. It's junk mail. Throw it out. End of story."

"But how did they get my name?" Steve asked, as if Dave would know.

Dave actually did. Same way email marketing guys have gotten mine. The age old mailing list sell-off.

"You subscribe to Sports Illustrated. Obviously, they sold their mailing list. We got about 50 or 60 of those in today. A lot of magazine subscribers get offers from other magazines. Just throw it out." Dave shrugged and further explained that if he made decisions to throw mail out, bulk, junk or otherwise, what was to stop him from throwing out mail from political candidates he felt weren't "Christian" enough. Or, throwing out mail from other colleges because they weren't Christian colleges. Or OPENING mail from people to read the contents to see if it wasn't Christian, censoring it, marking it up, or throwing it out.

Dave had a great point. We were getting paid 5 bucks an hour to just just deliver what got sent. We weren't there to make a judgment call.

Steve was still pissed, and at the time, I thought he was totally over reacting. I still do. Just throw it out. Just like with my email... delete it and move on. That's what I do with the crap that comes in my mailbox. But it is still annoying, and my heart has softened towards this easily offended, very sweet, but really not so bright guy from my past.

But like with college, and like with the mail slot in the center of my feng shui compliant south-facing red door, it'd be much nicer to open my mailbox once in a while and have actual human mail instead of sheer volumes of crapola.

But alas. We're Americans, and we are labeled sheep, consumers. We are to be marketed at, towards and to. We have lost our souls. Just because we bought something at Best Buy, or signed up for Internet access. Or because we have a pulse. Such is the way of the future.

Just tell me that when it comes time for the chip to be implanted in my forehead that this isn't going to happen, that messages aren't going to be beamed to me for stuff we don't want marketed at me, ever... And if it is going to be that way, hand me a gun.

Wait, I'll buy one. I think I got an email recently offering me 40% off and free shipping for handguns and rifles... or I'll just go to Ted Nugent's Website and pick one up, cheap.

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