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I'll Never Understand

Some things, I believe, are not "intended" for man—or Man—to understand.

One of them is, I am sure, the thought processes that go on inside the brains of spammers (As an aside, does one actually capitalize spam when one is not talking about tasty canned meat but instead of the electronic equivalent of the white food-like substance ("creme") inside a Twinkie, or does one lowercase it? And if one capitalizes Spam, does one then also capitalize Spammer? These are merely two examples of thoughts that keep me awake at night.).

"Now, hold on," some of you are thinking. "What evidence do you possess which would convince a reasonable person that there are, indeed, any thought or thought-analogous processes which occur inside the brains of a spammer (or Spammer)?"

To that question, I answer, "None. Now shut up and keep reading."

I just received a spam (or Spam, but not the tasty meat-byproduct-in-a-can) whose subject line simply said, and I quote
Your academic probation has expired.
Now, on the one hand, this was fairly easily identifiable as spam/Spam because 1) I'm not a student, 2) I have never been on academic probation, and 3) the from address contained something like 'pimpy0b00ty.com,' which, last I checked1 was not an accredited bastion of higher learning. Or lower learning. Or, really, any learning at all.

So, yeah. <presses DELETE button>

But here is where the cognitive dissonance set in.

The purpose of Spam/spam is, undoubtedly, to entice the reader into opening the email and to subsequently click the link contained therein, thereby either 1) alerting the {S|s}pammer that the email was a valid one and can therefore be included on lucrative lists of valid emails, 2) installing malware onto the user's computer, 3) completely zombifying the user's computer and making it part of a global bot-net that sends out [Choose one: □ S    □ s]pam to other email addresses that have been 'verified' as 'valid,' 4) promoting some product, 5) coercing the user into volunteering personal information ('phishing'), or 6) scamming the recipient out of money.

I personally believe that #5 is the overarching goal, and that perhaps #6 is merely a subset of #5. There is ample evidence that it works. Estimates of monetary losses due to phishing and such scams as the Nigerian Scam are in the high hundreds of millions to billions of dollars per year.

So with those facts2, the question one has to ask oneself is this:
What does the $pammer gain by sending this email?
Given the amount of $pam I receive pushing Viagra of some description, diplomas, and replica watches, these have to be lucrative. They wouldn't keep doing it if it weren't, right? $pam is big business, and the top people make crap-tons of money off it. I mean, somewhere out there must be thousands of men sporting the unlikely trio of a painful erection, a diploma from "Havard" or "Yail" or "Oxferd," and wearing a Roll-X watch. To impress the ladies, of course. Nothing says, "hold me down and ravage me" like an Ivey Leeg degree, a watch that's right twice every 482 years, and a priapism caused by the ingestion of potentially toxic amounts of "hepparin" or some "herb" that "the Chinese" have "trusted" for "over 5000 years, so it must be good!"3

So what vanishingly small demographic are they hoping to entice to open the message so provocatively titled "Your academic probation has expired"?

It boggles the mind is what it does.

  1. I have never checked that site, really. No, really.
  2. They were not intended to be factual statements, but merely truthy, although I did actually research them for all of 20 seconds.
  3. Individual result may very.

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