Monday, October 02, 2006

A thought on spam

While glancing through my spam trap, I realised that all the scams were trying to take advantage of fear and/or greed. The greed motivated ones interested me most. I had the feeling that the designers of these scams were assuming that the people they were sending them to were just like them - greedy, open to a slightly dodgy deal - but not quite as smart.

Obviously these will never work on me. Not because I'm smarter than them - although, lord knows, I surely am - but because my greed is not a motivating force for me. A scam to trap me would be better aimed at my vanity.

In fact, were I to design some kind of internet scam, it would be designed to assume that people are just like me - vain, always wanting to find out something to make me look clever - but not quite as smart. Since I'm motivated by vanity rather than greed, it wouldn't be aimed at their money, but instead to make them look like fools, while making me look especially clever.

It would probably be bits of writing that looks like it's telling them something they don't know, but is actually a waste of their time. And if they didn't figure it out, even when they were told about it, I think I'd have made my point.

Fortunately I'm too apathetic to put this plan into action.

Update: Within minutes of me posting this I started to get emails offering me handmade silk embroidery from China, which I have to say was a good try. The spambots are evidentally monitoring, analysing and adapting to us, and I for one welcome our new artificially intelligent and virtual unsolicited advertising overlords.

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