Spam, Glorious Spam

Anyone who has ever had a blog, webpage, facebook, myspace or any other presence on the internet will know that with that presence comes the unstoppable flow of spam.  There’s plenty of tools out there to block spam, and WordPress, to their credit, has a pretty good one.  I typically get about 20-30 spam comments a week, all of which go into a spam folder automatically and I kill them out.  However, I also like to stop and read some of them, and what I’ve discovered is that the spam artists have a specific style.

Almost all of the spam I get starts off with a compliment.  They will say, “I read a lot of blogs and yours is one of the best” or something similar.  One actually seemed like a real person wrote it, as it specifically called out part of one of my articles.  In the end, however, they all turn out the same; some flattery to get your attention and then a website link to their spam factory.

It was reading these blurbs, all superficially friendly, that I realized that spam writers must either be out of work greeting card writers or simply haven’t discovered the hallmark.com page for submissions.  The way these short greetings/sales hooks are written, they really do remind me of Hallmark cards that you get someone because you know a card is expected, even if you don’t really mean a word of what the card says.  Get well cards, for example; yes, you want someone to get well, but a picture of a vase full of flowers with a short bit about healing or birds with broken wings or whatever other tripe fits on an 8.5″ X 11″ folded in half really isn’t representative of how you feel about someone getting over gall bladder surgery.

It’s all part of the plastic society we’ve been living in since the 1950s, when advertising took the place of reality.  With spam, at least you know it’s disingenuous bunk, but honestly, is it any worse than a happy birthday card from that uncle you never see except on holidays, the one you avoid because he smells like cheese dip and Old Spice?  Probably not.  Both say someone cared enough to send you a communication, but didn’t actually care enough to say anything meaningful.

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