For the Love of Spam

By: Guest | February 19, 2013 | 

Today’s guest post is by Amy Vernon

Spam fascinates me.

Spam filters grow ever more clever, stopping it from even getting to us, more often than not.

We’re all tired of it.

But it works, apparently. Enough for people to keep doing it.

Enough for people to keep sending ot invitations for us to buy pills, sex, or indirectly, money.

Spam has different goals: Sometimes it’s to get a backlink.

Sometimes it’s a phishing scam. Sometimes they simply just want to separate you from you from your money by promising you narcotics or Viagra at a fraction of their usual cost (and no prescription needed).

Spam for Lovers

One of my personal recent favorites escalated from simply messages from “ladie” for me, to “Serbian sluts.” No reaction? OK, how about browsing photos of some Jewish single people? You know, if that’s more your speed.

I want to meet the people who click on these. Does anyone really believe they’ve been lucky enough to receive a random offer of randy Serbian women ready to meet with them? And why Serbian? Why not Ukranian? Congolese? Canadian? (Who knows – maybe in Serbia, the spammy ladies who are ready and waiting actually ARE Canadian.)

My Facebook “other” inbox right now is overflowing with people telling me how beautiful I am. And would I maybe like to just chat with them?

One particularly, from Sgt. Bob, was fabulous in its depth. He’s divorced and in the U.S. Army. Or works for the U.S. Army. Or something like that. Anyway, he was soft searching (which means?) for an old friend and saw my profile. Well, it turns out I am the kind of woman he’s been searching for! Can you imagine that?

What are the odds? I’m the luckiest girl in the world, because he’s not into cybersex or anything, just wants a friend. And wants to spend the rest of his life with me. 

Look – dude was up at 5:14 a.m. If that’s not sincerity, I don’t know what is.

Spam to Motivate

And I’ve also been provided info that’s super-important. I’m not sure what it was, because I really just haven’t had the time to call. If you called, let me know. I’m sure it’s a major investment tip.

I also like the personal encouragement this next guy had for me. I mean, isn’t it time I stopped procrastinating? However, I doubt I’ll wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. After all, that’s what procrastination is, right?

Spam Deep Thoughts

My true spam love, however, is blog comment spam. So much so that I started a Tumblr for it a while back.

It’s easy to spam blog comments with a list of keywords and some spammy linkbacks. It’s another skill entirely to craft what is very nearly poetry.

“Man if i ever saw two racoons fighting over a blogs itd (sic) be this one, nicely done my friend. Keep it up.”

That’s my all-time favorite blog comment spam. I mean, I didn’t even know that raccoons read. And definitely didn’t know they had Internet service in the woods. Probably dial-up, but still.

That’s one of those comments, though, that makes me wonder what the creator was thinking. Why raccoons? What was the spambot programmed with that led it to come up with that?

A close second is this one, which is nearly worthy of being a Zen kōan: “What happens if you get scared half to death twice?”

Simple math would indicate you’re just a quarter alive. But I feel as if the answer can’t be quite so simple as that.

Like the sound of one hand clapping, the answer is both simple and unanswerable.

A 20-year veteran of newspaper journalism, Amy Vernon is general manager of social marketing for NYC tech startup Internet Media Labs, which creates tools and platforms to help tame the social web. Amy is an inaugural inductee of the New Jersey Social Media Hall of Fame and top female submitter of all time on

  • HowieG

    I was so certain this was about the almost real sandwich meat. What a let down!
    One reason marketers are slimy is because people are gullible. I mean when someone hears ’90 year old lady swindled out of $300,000 by a televangelist’ most people say ‘That crook!’ but marketers say ‘OMG how did you do that kudos!’
    and thus the spam lived on

    • @HowieG I’ve actually never eaten spam. I have, however, been to Austin (MN), home of Hormel, maker of Spam. 🙂

      • belllindsay

        @AmyVernon  @HowieG I have had the classic Monty Pyton “Spam” song in my head ALL WEEK while dealing with this post: “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, wonderful Spam Spam Spam…”

  • Clearly if you get scared half to death twice, you’re fully dead. Or are you a quarter dead? I hope you’re a quarter dead because then you could Google “died” and your birthdate and figure out who you were in a previous life, which may tell you who you’ll be in the next life. Thanks for the very funny blog post, wifey!

    • @ginidietrich The math is definitely one quarter alive. But I honestly don’t want to think that hard. Glad I made you laugh, wifey! 🙂

  • flemingsean

    @belllindsay Are you channelling “Corrie”..? “Ehup

  • flemingsean

    @belllindsay Are you channelling “Corrie”..? #ehup

  • Kate Finley


  • What’s is wrong with me, I never get these kind of invitations to connect for  ‘harmless’  love. Is Amy projecting more of a ‘come hither’ look in her profile pic? I can change mine in a flash, suggestions welcome.

    • @annelizhannan I don’t know! I suspect it’s because I’m one of the few people who actually looks at her spam. I don’t know why I do, even. Morbid curiousity?

    • @annelizhannan Your comment brought my drink through my nose. 🙂  Don’t worry, I don’t get them either… and for that I am grateful.  Of course if Sgt. Bob sent me a note like that…he’d have something good coming his way.  But then, while I’ve seen Soldiers do dumb things — like take naked photos of themselves and post them to twitter (as if no one would see them) — I doubt Bob was ever an NCO, let alone in the Army.  Sorry, @AmyVernon he’s probably not a Soldier.

      • @Frank_Strong  @annelizhannan DARN. Frank, you’re shattering all my illusions.

    • belllindsay

      @annelizhannan HAHAHAHA!!

  • Blair Minton

    Really lonely introverts with no hope in life. Suddenly something happens to give them hope of a friend. Very sad that people believe that something good is finally going to happen to them and get taken advantage of…again.

  • Lindsay Bell-Wheeler

    Sheesh Blair. Since you put it that way…. 😉

  • Lindsay Bell-Wheeler

    True though – t’is sad.

  • Tim Dunne

    The kind of people who click on this are teachers and professors who want actual examples of how far column-writing has fallen as both an art-form and a vehicle of actual and valid opinion, so that they can tell their students, “Go ahead. Just see what happens when you give me crap like this and tell me that you were serious about your content.”

  • juliepippert

    Will comment later after I finish laughing and clapping with one hand.

    • @juliepippert I have to give credit to Lindsey, who suggested I pursue something relating to the weird spam I get.

      • belllindsay

        @AmyVernon  @juliepippert I’ll take any credit I can get. LOL

    • @juliepippert I wondered what that sound was.

  • LauriRottmayer

    LOL! This is hilarious! I always wondered about the weird blog comments that seem to make no sense. Backlinks, duh. Thanks! 🙂

    • @LauriRottmayer So happy I made you laugh. 🙂  I used to wonder, too. Finally figured it out. lol

  • AmyVernon

    @WomenCentric @spinsucks 🙂 That is my ALL-TIME favorite spam.

    • WomenCentric

      @AmyVernon 🙂 We should send you some of the crazy ones we get too. Some of them you just have to go, what were they thinking?? @SpinSucks

      • AmyVernon

        @WomenCentric You can submit them to my BlogCommentSpam blog – 🙂 Love getting submissions!

        • WomenCentric

          @AmyVernon Excellent! Will do!

  • AmyVernon

    @ginidietrich *kisses*

  • AmandaMagee

    This is brilliant.
    I once received a spam comment that was so perfectly suited to my modd and the post that I gave it an approving nod, then I cracked up at my self.

    • @AmandaMagee I LOVE those kinds of spam. I have occasionally approved spam that’s just too funny I can’t bring myself to delete them. I started the Tumblr specifically to give those a home. 🙂

  • ifdyperez

    YES! Thanks for this, @AmyVernon ! I’ve actually been wanting to read something on spam since, for some reason, my email spam count has gone up 3-4x in the past few weeks. After getting invitations to save hostages in Siberia or meet a young girl online, I always think to myself, “If I worked for a spam company, I’d help them target their email marketing much better.” LOL! Thanks for the laughs, Amy!

    • @ifdyperez Ha! Right? It cracks me UP. I really wonder sometimes what exactly they’re trying to target.

    • @ifdyperez Wait a minute – I just realized you said you’re getting invitations to save hostages in Siberia?? That’s AMAZING spam. I want that spam.

      • ifdyperez

        @AmyVernon Ha! Next time I get one, I’ll forward it to you. 😛

  • My favorite is the blog comment spam that is all nasty and derogatory–like “this blog is terrible, the writing is horrible, etc”–it’s like someone led a webinar in the reverse psychology of the old standby “Great post!” comment.

    • @maggielmcg Oh, I love those! As if maybe it will seem more legit that way?

  • scmmas

    @ginidietrich @amyvernon in the immortal words of Graham Chapman, “I don’t like Spam!”

    • AmyVernon

      @scmmas @ginidietrich spam spam spam spam!

  • ginidietrich

    @desertronin Copycat!

    • desertronin

      @ginidietrich Not at all, just admiring your good taste. 🙂

      • ginidietrich

        @desertronin I do have good taste, don’t I?

        • desertronin

          @ginidietrich Absolutely, as does @amyvernon 🙂 (See what I did there? 😉 ) Good taste in social media, it could start a trend

        • ginidietrich

          @desertronin LOL!!

        • AmyVernon

          @desertronin @ginidietrich not GOOD TASTE! Heaven fofend.

        • desertronin

          @amyvernon @ginidietrich I know! The Interwebz might get all explode-ie

        • AmyVernon

          @desertronin @ginidietrich And then only the cats in the tubes would be hurt.

        • desertronin

          @amyvernon @ginidietrich And then the kittehs would want payback.. It’d be a catpocalypse!

  • MediaLabRat

    Riddle me this, Batwoman: We were both at #smwknd this the weekend when the live stream was attacked with a vengeance by an onslaught of Twitter slutbots.  In looking back over the participant list on Sunday night, I calculated over 1000 (!) spam accounts that hit that stream at least once over the two day event. Seriously?
    Is there really enough ROI for the spammers to go through the trouble to create 1000+ accounts to spam people with porn or virus links? And how can Twitter tolerate this even a little bit?  It is also an interesting observation that these bot accounts don’t show up when you are viewing a hashtag stream on native Twitter or Twitter apps, but they run wild on third party platforms like hootsuite and  I smell a rat, and not of the MediaLab kind 😉

    • @MediaLabRat I cannot imagine, Robert, that there is ANYthing nefarious about that.

    • @MediaLabRat Twitter needs to start charging. Will stop all those crap accounts dead in their tracks.

  • Do you follow @Horse_ebooks? I love the tweets & backstory of the account….
    Spam is a hoot. I work out of a team inbox that gets close to 1,000 emails a day, so there’s no shortage of junk mail. Recent favorite: “Spice improve brainpower.” Which I guess is sort of a self-advertisement for not using spice.
    Also, I wonder if others are seeing this or just me……does spam every now and then seem well written to you? Sometimes I read something and think, this is obviously fake, but it’s a pretty good imitation.

    • @JoeCardillo Tom Webster reads his spam — outloud — almost weekly.  He’s had a cold the last couple episodes; I’ve warned you!

      • @Frank_Strong Somehow, I’ve missed this, even though he was a FF on SpinSucks in November. Course now corrected. and thank you! =)

      • @Frank_Strong  @JoeCardillo I had no idea! I will have to look into that.

    • @JoeCardillo Oh, I’ve followed @Horse_ebooks for years now, and occasionally retweet the most Zen-like tweets. That Gawker story is one of my all-time favorites.

  • AmyVernon

    @ginidietrich it is truly special, my relationship with spam

  • AmyVernon

    @martinwaxman @spinsucks 😉 When you start to look for the humor in it, it can be a glorious thing.

    • martinwaxman

      @AmyVernon @SpinSucks I’ll have to adopt that approach and make it collectible the way you do

      • AmyVernon

        @martinwaxman @SpinSucks If you can’t beat ’em, laugh at ’em. 🙂

        • SpinSucks

          @AmyVernon @martinwaxman Love it, and I usually do 🙂

  • I read this last night on my phone and then was unable to comment because my iPhone went all wonky and I’m-not-gonna-let-you-comment on me. So, today, here I go: what a delightfully and appropriately absurd take on the nuisance-that-is-spam. I find it annoying, yet when I look at it from your perspective it is truly funny. Thanks for that, @AmyVernon, you do make me smile. And think. Enjoyed this post and find myself pondering, hours and hours later. #markofagoodpost

    • @allenmireles Yay! I made Allen smile! I win!

  • I’ve been known to appreciate blog comment spam now and again; haven’t been hit with flirtatious Facebook requests yet. Thanks for the fresh take! Still, spambots are insidious and it aches when they attack relentlessly, wreaking havoc on servers and challenging entire systems–taking precious engineering talent away from development. Difficult but necessary work to stay three steps ahead.

    • @Allison Leahy Absolutely, Allison. I do have to say, most of this spam does actually get caught by Askimet or Gmail’s spam filters or FB puts them in the “other” email. I check those mainly so I don’t miss the very occasional non-spam post that gets caught, but I do peruse all the other stuff, just to see what amuses me. 🙂

  • AmyVernon

    @C_Pappas @SpinSucks Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

    • C_Pappas

      @AmyVernon I super enjoyed it. Thanks!

  • SandraJEvans

    RT @ShellyKramer For the Love of Spam via @ginidietrich

  • psd101970

    @JeffSheehan @AmyVernon @SpinSucks Web spam is the electronic automated version of the Billy Liar #Labour Spin Machine

  • Maricelabju6jwn
  • AmyVernon

    @shonali @ginidietrich 🙂 I’m going to be posting a real winner I just got this morning. 🙂

    • shonali

      @AmyVernon Can’t wait. 😉 @ginidietrich

  • I really enjoyed this post! thanks

    • @MrTonyDowling Why do I feel as if this is blog comment spam? cc @ginidietrich

      • @AmyVernon @MrTonyDowling @ginidietrich because constant exposure to the stuff reduces your ability to differentiate?

        • @MrTonyDowling   @ginidietrich I was being somewhat facetious. It wouldn’t end up on my Blog Comment Spam blog, though, as you didn’t mention raccoons. 🙂

        • @AmyVernon @ginidietrich heheh!

  • MZazeela

    Thanks Amy. I have a new appreciation for SPAM! From now on, I will click on every link, provide all of the info they want, and completely disable my email SPAM filters. 🙂

    • MZazeela HA! Yes, when let me know when the King of Nigeria sends you a check. 😉

  • thanks its nice article……..