Last night I read a quote from Bill Gates saying spam would be extinguished within the next two years. Then, this morning in The New York Times, an op-ed piece claiming we’re already seeing the last of spam!
I keep track. Since January 6, 2004, 57.9% of my email (that’s 996 of 1720 received) is spam. In reality I get an even higher percentage, but mail sent to two addresses I never use are automatically deleted before they’re ever downloaded.
This doesn’t look like spam is going away… at least not at first glance.
When you look at the actual text of the email you get a different impression. Here’s part of one I got today:
Our 2 pcodruts will work for you!
1. #1 Spupelment aavilable! – Works!
2. *New* Enahncement Oil – Get hard in 60 seocnds! Amzaing!
Like no ohter oil you’ve seen.
the 2 prdoucts work gerat togteher
FOR WOEMN ONLY: TOCUH HERE
jacksonville proven chronograph howl argo ingrate actinide elope harp cowry richards capistrano chaperone nostrand proximity blandish capo espionage breakage season europium booty ammeter chancy chickadee adsorption ferrule ruben
footstool airframe pursue loggerhead ryder ember disquietude mathias duke gadget injustice frankel inferential aloof hovel relinquish cozy dachshund condition
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incompetent ascendant canaveral antoine semitic heady pill henequen flowchart kaplan float acts halfway freeport awhile fortiori agave bel eigenspace carborundum glaucous anthropogenic brisk carbondale molecule appanage lambert
despise hattie philip elate harangue napoleonic australis halide afoot ordinary beset directrix bryophyta cataclysm acronym benign berra diathermy beachcomb farfetched schoolwork showdown richardson circumference procaine crimson conform chalmers handcuff gut impromptu floorboard
fugal backyard optimistic parse lass gag esther compelling itinerant phoebe cornelia henbane corrosive chiefdom doppler
envelop flammable ingot guide eclectic hang dental didn’t anita reredos idea crosswort asperity decorous capo identity ambitious cartilage francisco eyeful life congestive galilee befogging osborne daytime cancelled blatz jackanapes cumbersome groat low dear
entire glutton gleason grilled butler circus fledge bodybuilder for han approach deregulatory been concourse dicta euphoric cereus gary postposition accretion galway fend fool oyster domesday avaricious beriberi citric capture bike gaggle florist actinide
crosslink anthracite aphid glean menfolk augend bedevil cortex derive hillmen bide indicant palestinian prig lethargic hock emendable oakley hove codeword back coon frey addressograph cecil denton chivalry cookie expellable bauer heroism during dud runneth
byrd jigsaw loquat marsupial amplifier enquire coffman ralston middlemen ferris bird halo mac rhenium combatted additional emcee arum aspersion seashore buttermilk chattel against horseplay interval provocation hug momentary checkpoint backhand lobby jan corn quasiorder haitian hewitt friedman
What’s going on? Major portions are misspelled, and for a very good reason. If this email stuck to proper spelling and syntax, it would be filtered before getting to subscribers at many large ISPs and mail servers.
The long list of ‘dictionary’ words at the end of the message was meant to make the filters think this was an OK email after all. It didn’t work. It was filtered by Popfile which I use, love and recommend (it’s free too). I’m only seeing it because I needed an example.
If I, as a single user, can implement a filter this good, imagine what the big boys like Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL can do!
Since there are only a limited number of things which can be sold using spam (it’s got to be something with an incredibly high markup, because the raw number of responses is so low), the filters are wising up. This is especially true of the Bayesian filters which ‘learn’ as you get more and more mail.
I wrote, a few weeks back, that it seemed my volume of spam had diminished. I was wrong. But, maybe that day isn’t too far away. I can’t w@1t.