i don’t often admit to hating pretty much anything, but i will admit, whole-heartedly, to hating spam with a white-hot passion… 😛
i’m going to use this as an example of how i determine something which is not labled spam, is actually spam.
the following is a text-dump of the entire message, with the headers intact. the only thing i have done is to obscure my host server.
Return-path: <x> Envelope-to: email@example.com Delivery-date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700 Received: from hybridel by x with local (Exim 4.69) (envelope-from
) id 1P1d2m-0005OP-Im for firstname.lastname@example.org; Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700 To: "salamandir" <email@example.com> Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 22.214.171.124 From: "Randall Tuttle" <firstname.lastname@example.org> MIME-Version: 1.0 X-Mailer: osCommerce Mailer Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Message-Id: <E1P1d2m-0005OP-Im@x> Sender: <hybridel@x> Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700 X-Bogosity: Unsure, tests=bogofilter, spamicity=0.583091, version=1.2.0 X-UID: Status: RO X-Status: R X-KMail-EncryptionState: N X-KMail-SignatureState: N X-KMail-MDN-Sent: We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms. We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings. Please reply to this message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar results for you.
first, i look at the subject line: “
Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant”
this is not labled “spam” because it’s an enquiry from my web site, which means that if it turns out to be spam, i can’t report it, because it doesn’t have a message path that can be traced. i get a lot of spammers trying to abuse my response form (hint, it only sends to me, so it’s not much use for spamming), so that increases the probability that it is, actually, spam.
next, i look at the sender name and email address. usually people who submit legitimate enquiries to my business have an email address that doesn’t stand out. this one –
From: "Randall Tuttle" <email@example.com> – stands out: “Randall Tuttle” has an email address that includes the name “rachelle”? the probability that it actually is spam just went up to 99.98%. i have never seen an example of a message that comes from someone who is apparently male, which has an email address that includes a female name, unless they were trying to mislead people in some way.
as i said, because of the fact that it is an enquiry from my web site, i can’t report it, but i can delete it without even reading further.
but i am going to force myself to read further, because deep down, i am a masochist… or something like that…
We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.
now i’m starting to get perturbed… i knew i shouldn’t have read any further… patience, patience… 😐
yes, i know that. it is because i haven’t gotten to the top yet. if you google “html escape sequences” you’ll probably notice my site within the top 5 on the list. that is because i have offered the only complete list of html escape seqences on the net, for the longest time, without changing its URI. i haven’t been offering incense for anywhere near as long as i have had that list of escape sequences on the net. not only that, but i just upgraded from a flat html structure to a php/database structure within the past couple of years. one of the advantages is that if you search for specific products, like “aparajita special durbar incense” you will find my web site on the first page, despite the fact that i have upgraded my web site recently.
yeah, i’m not at the top of the list for all of my keywords, but i’m getting there, and if i leave my web site alone for long enough, i’ll probably get there without using possibly illegal and most likely nefarious ways to get there sooner, which is what you’re probably suggesting…
We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings.
organic ratings? organic ratings!? nothing about the web is “organic” in any sense of the term. and if they were, in some miraculous way, “organic” ratings, then why would a person named “Randall” be trying to sell them to me, writing to me from “rachelle”‘s email address, at gmail.com?
Please reply to this message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar results for you.
reveal more about how my mailserver works to you, and give you new and innovative ways to break into my web site and email server, so that you can “prepare a special proposal” for me? i don’t think so, especially since you haven’t actually proven to me that you have actually done that for anyone.
for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “plonk” is the sound a spam message makes when it is deleted,
or the sound of a person’s email address being added to a “do not send” or “banned” list.
oh, by the way, the form gives me a little bit more information about the sender than he probably realises:
X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 126.96.36.199
aha, his IP address. a quick “host 188.8.131.52” tells me that his computer is named “abts-north-dynamic-184.108.40.206.airtelbroadband.in” which is a dynamic range coming from AirTel Broadband, in india.
yeah, i’m really going to respond to a person who didn’t give me his real name, offering sketchy SEO services from a wireless connection in india… 😐