Un Repas de Gourmet Pour les Spammeurs

I just don't get the Spam lovers. What could they possibly see in that junk?

By DAVID SHAMAH
June 28, 2006 09:35
4 minute read.
spam soap 88

spam soap 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Mmm. We're having a barbecue today. The weather's just right, and I can smell that al ha'esh aroma wafting up from the backyard. If the food smells that good, imagine how delicious it will taste! Of course, grilled steak isn't everyone's cup of meat. Some folks like fish, some go for hot dogs on the grill and then there are the vegetarians. To each his own, I guess. It takes all kinds of tastes to make the world go round. But I just don't get the Spam lovers. What could they possibly see in that junk? When I come face to face with Spam, my face wrinkles, my nose automatically stops inhaling, and I get this funny feeling in my stomach - the feeling that tells me I had better find a restroom, right away! And yet, there are those that thrive on Spam - like the folks at Spamgourmet (http://www.spamgourmet.com), who like nothing better for breakfast, lunch, dinner - even a midnight snack. Of course, the spam they go for isn't that stuff in the can you're thinking of (the Spamgourmet folks may be enthusiastic about eliminating junk e-mail, but they're not crazy!). Their ideal spam meal consists of those funny and not-so-funny messages that inundate your inbox, wasting time, money and computer resources. There are lots of ways to battle spam, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Some prefer to install something like the excellent (and free) Mailwasher (http://www.mailwasher.net/), which I reviewed a few years back. Definitely worth the download. Others rely on the "munging" system (http://tinyurl.com/terj), whereby they take their "real" e-mail address and put extraneous characters in it before posting it publicly. Still others use their "real" address only for trusted correspondents, providing everyone else with a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail Web address, eliminating the possibility that junk mail will choke their ISP provided mailbox. None of these systems is perfect, unfortunately. You get spam when you provide your e-mail address to a Web site or post it on a public group mail list. Sophisticated harvesters efficiently grab your address, or money-hungry Webmasters sell your "we will never reveal" e-mail address to the highest bidder, and you start to get messages from all and sundry telling you how "Ephedra is BACK!" or "Best on-line pharmaceutical prices here" or - forget it, just check your own mailbox! Once you open the wrong message - the type with HTML images (http://tinyurl.com/kwe5n) - you can expect a lot more "free information," because you've just tipped off spammers that you're a "real" potential customer. You can't always munge your address (the concept is hard for some technophobes to handle) and setting up ever more sophisticated filters with programs like Mailwasher doesn't always work, because spammers are always one step ahead of you. And if you have a "junk" Web mail account, I guarantee you are going to spend time going through it - either because you're bored and want to see what stupid messages they're sending you, or because you're afraid you might miss a "real" message. Either way, spammers win. Spamgourmet's got a different approach to the problem - this service just chews up and spits out junk mail before it even gets to your mailbox. There are no filters to set up or addresses to munge, because Spamgourmet does all the work for you. You sign up for Spamgourmet like any other Web service, submitting your e-mail address (the site says that if you don't trust them, try it with a disposable Web mail address first). Once you sign up, you're almost guaranteed not to get any mail from sites that demand an e-mail address from you. Let's say you sign up using the user name "don't bug me" (or DBM, for short). Your address to use the service is DBM@spamgourmet.com. So far, so good. The fun starts when you're ready to distribute the address. Company X demands an address; you type in a "signifier" name (like CompanyX), a number (like 3) and your Spamgourmet address, so that the e-mail you submit is CompanyX.3.DMB@spamgourmet.com. The number limits the amount of messages Spamgourmet will accept from that address (which gets forwarded to your real e-mail address by Spamgourmet). So, using the system, you will get exactly three messages from CompanyX - and anything past that gets "eaten," i.e. erased immediately upon receipt, by the Spamgourmet server - you'll never even know it was there! If you want something more aesthetic, Spamgourmet lets you use a letter instead of a number as the limiter, with A being one, B being two. If you like surfing the Net and trying out new things you have to register for, feel free to sign up and feed the spammers as much as you want - you'll just be cooking up a bigger and better meal for your Spamgourmet account! Ds@newzgeek.com

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