Free Markets, Free People

I get email…

I get a lot of email from that link over on the left side of this site. Interesting conversations, offers to review books, and the like are welcome and worthwhile. 

But spammers are everywhere, so 98%+ of it is an amazing variety of worthless trash. Perhaps even more amazing (and frustrating) is that much of it slips right through even the best spam filters, probably because it’s about politics instead of bobbydangler enlargement.

A warning if you’re ever considering doing political blogging and exposing your email address: the CAN-SPAM act has an exemption for certain political purposes. In particular, if Senator Bigslush ever gets your email address, he is free to send you whatever he likes until the end of time, or until he gets pushed out of office, whichever comes first. He probably won’t include an opt-out link. He has about as much consideration for your time as you would expect a DC politician to have. He probably thinks you get a charge from getting an email headed with "From the Office of Senator Ben Dover Bigslush".

Many political lobbying groups construe themselves to be exempted from CAN-SPAN as well. On top of that they pass email lists around like addicts sharing needles. Like true spammers everywhere, they don’t really give a damn whether you have any interest in their message. So when the crack whore next to them passes on your email address, you’ll start getting "press releases" about "sustainable wind farms" or other science fiction, whether you like it or not.

Media sites also engage in the spamming game. Politico is one of the worst; I’ve blocked them more times than I can count, and noticed a new round from them just this week. It starts “Good Morning! Here are today’s top POLITICO stories. Thanks, Stacy”, with no unsubscribe link of course.

Fortunately, gmail allows various ways to block such messages. For the politicians, I use easily constructed filters. I have 85 of those filters at last count. The science fiction “press releases” get marked as spam.

Then there are the PR flacks. A few are borderline acceptable. I’m not interested in an interview with the Director of Mining Affairs for Outer Framistan, but I could see where others might be.

Moving further into bottom-feeding territory, there are the search engine optimization (SEO) sharks. The people running these companies are some of the most contemptible in the Internet industry.

One of their annoying techniques is to pretend they’re doing me a favor. Their usual form is offering a "guest post", which strikes me as a strange way to say "unpaid advertisement".

Many of their messages are bot-generated, which does open up some humor possibilities. The blog Popehat often takes on these parasites, and recounts some of the nonsensical results. Here’s a small sample:

I would like to inquire re: your interest in blog post submissions. My associates and I have wide range of experience in many areas. I believe we can offer you web traffic driving articles of interest to your readers, on topics such as PONY , _INSURANCE , and FIRST AMENDMENT OPPONENT. Also of interest may be PONY VICTIM COUNSELING , MENTAL HEALTH , CRAZY FUCK!NG LAWYER, and BRONY PSYCHOLOGY .

These clumsy online marketing efforts typically offer slavish, insincere praise on what a great blog we have. Well, yeah, ours really is. But they don’t know us from a blog about knitting mittens for cats, because the only reason anyone connected with them ever visited the site was to harvest our email addresses.

These link whores also have another annoying characteristic. They usually send a helpful follow up spam message a few days later to make sure I saw their first spam message.

In some respects, that makes them worse than spammers for fake embiggening pills. Those guys rarely send messages that read "I wanted to make sure you got my last message about how much you must need a bigger bobbydangler."

Another SEO ploy is offering to purchase ad space – at rates so low that the time spent on paperwork won’t be recovered until sometime in 2025. The real bottom feeding vermin offer link exchanges: "I’m sure you are eager to link your site, which attracts thousands of page views a day, to my site, which gets five views a week, all from deceptive search results on Google." I completely understand and even appreciate such a request from another political blog, but not from people with the morals of a snapping turtle.

I love political blogging and wish I had more time for it. Dealing with various sorts of spammer is a small price to pay, and good email tools handle a lot of the load.

It does bother me, though, to realize that there is an entire range of people out there, from pompous politicians to media sites like Politico to SEO con artists, who have no compunction whatsoever about wasting the time of anyone they can find to annoy.

14 Responses to I get email…

  • Don’t give in to the marketing lie that it is “Optimization.” Call it by its accurate name, “Search Engine Poisoning.”
    That’s going to be the best way to strike back against those scum.

    • Of course, when Goggle applies the “Search Engine Antidote” an entire sub-industry went belly-up over night.

  • I’ve had an e-mail account (attached to the internet) for about 15 years now.
    It presently has 3109 unread e-mails in it .. and this isn’t the one that I use to post here which has 2969 unread e-mails, mostly from Indian TV for some unknown reason.
    Not long ago, it was over 10,000 unread e-mails.  Frankly, I have effective abandoned e-mail.

  • They get emails at the White House too, but they can only actually access about 100 of them apparently.

  • How can you resist pony victim counseling?

  • Someone once told me that you can be described by the type of mail you get.  I replied that I hoped that such a thing did not include email because if it did then I’m a fat, balding, guy with bad credit, who can’t get it up, has rich relatives in Nigeria, and a thing for barely legal Japanese girls.

  • Okay, so, you don’t maintain email accounts….how are you at Visitor Logs?

  • Here, Billy, critique this…
    I got nuthin’…

    • 50. Permanent. Jobs.
      22 hundred miles long……..
      50….full time jobs…..
      Well, using the same ‘science’ that estimate is based on, I think that’s more jobs than the stimulus created, no?

      • disclaimer – the science used for this estimate is based on the number of monkeys I pulled out of my butt while typing, rounded up to 50.  Don’t try this at home kids, I’m a professional.

  • I’m still torqued at the Republicans last minute inversion of the 2004 SPAM bill, in which they reversed themselves at the last minute and applied the Opt-Out rule instead of the Opt-in when it was found they received $$$millions in bribes…excuse me, “campaign contributions”, from the Telemarketing Association.