Straight to the Spam Folder: Astonishing E-Mail Messages You’ll Never Open
By Steven Gray
Spamming is an underappreciated art form. In fact, “hated” may be a more accurate adjective. Like mimes in a public square, spammers seek to capture the attention of people who actively try to avoid them. Thus they must strike fast and hard, bewildering their prey with astonishing bombast, no-holds-barred familiarity, and too-good-to-be-true promises. Much depends on the effectiveness of their initial pitch–the e-mail header–and in exploiting that space, they put practitioners of haiku to shame, delivering their come-on to the rubes (that is, us) in a single line and usually in far fewer than 17 syllables.
And yet if you equip your e-mail program with a good spam filter (we at PC World use the Postini service), you’re unlikely to see the fruits of the spammer’s labor unless you enter the world of the Quarantine Summary, where “potential junk or virus-infected messages” go to die. If you think of your daily trip to the quarantine zone as a usually fruitless scan for wrongly incarcerated messages, it can’t help but seem a nuisance. But if you go there looking for poetry, Delphic mystery, and fortune-cookie philosophy, you can discover gems of unrecognized genius.
So let’s take a spin through the quarantined messages of PC World’s editorial staff and see what wisdom our spammers wish to impart to a cynical, uncaring world. Our guarantee: All of the e-mail headers listed here are certified as-is, found-in-the-filter, pure organic spam, without any artificial editorial enhancements. (However, since spammers have the naughty habit of commandeering innocent people’s e-mail addresses in order to gain a patina of legitimacy–and since innocent people are not above filing nasty lawsuits–I have altered the e-mail addresses included here.)
GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS
I don’t know you
I’m glad we cleared that up right away. (Incidentally, FHM magazine recently named this one of the ten best pickup lines ever.)
Happy New Now!
Too late: It’s already old.
Hi it’s Monica
Okay, let’s give it a try: “Hi, Monica. I don’t know you.”
Help Your Customer Live the Fantasy
This opportunity may be a bit more hands-on than I’d like.
Leadership on purpose
But isn’t that cheating?
Create a Customer Walk-a-Thon
No, no! Into the store, into the store!
Are you participating in the Recession?
You mean…it’s voluntary?
Hi Linda, try yourself as a Personal Assistant
If it doesn’t work out, you can always lay yourself off.
To senior watchdog?
Wait a minute–why am I offering myself a better job?
With our watches boring time will go faster.
The focus here is either on disturbing the space/time continuum or on appealing specifically to miners.
With a cool watch you can beat everybody.
Sounds like an extremely sturdy (and dangerous) watch.
Designer watches at very democratic prices.
This one looks promising. I know I can’t afford very republican prices.
An elegant watch will give you the wings.
Is that anything like the vapors?
We offer the best alarm-clocks for your little buddy down there.
Laugh ‘Til You Cry
I hope that isn’t a threat. “Laugh, Clown, Laugh!”
Agree to be sick! Noway!
If that’s a typo for “Norway,” I know a country that needs a new PR campaign.
Hello. Heather here
Scotland’s board of tourism could do with a new slogan, too.
Bell the cat, or rather, get
“Bell the get”?
Buy Soft For The Prices You Will Enjoy.
Finally, an investment strategy that makes sense–unless your heart is set on buying firm.
If for you bad mood to call to me!
Borat is moonlighting again. But is this if already for me bad mood, or if in order for me bad mood?
Stop Sweating and Start Cheating at Gardening Today
Many who are new to the world of high-stakes gardening succumb to this temptation.
Colorful People Don’t Need Color
So color is something you don’t need if you have it but do need if you don’t? Augggh–it’s an infinite loop!
good-natured Whale. Well,
I, for one, welcome even-tempered, healthy whales.
no more. Of him she did hear from ti
This is what happens when you try to publish your novel as a series of 286,000 tweets.
Real University diplomas.
Most people go to Real University for the football games and the parties, anyway. But why is a law firm involved in this offer?
Online Bachelor’s Degrees you deserve
That B.S. in video studies from YouTube U. is rightfully mine!
Diplomas for everybody.
Unclear whether this is a campaign slogan or a drink order in a bar.
Doctorate degree can be yours.
I don’t know… Since I did my undergraduate work at Real University, I can afford to be pretty picky about where I go for my graduate degrees.
Real manliness is renewable at any age ?
Losing the question mark might sell this message just a smidge better.
The best way not to fall ill is the rise your immunity
It’s also the best way to stay out of jail, as many former government officials have found.
The endurance and stamina depends on the size as well.
(from salaam0@ pallidtetrad.com)
That explains why you see so few 450-pound marathoners.
Don’t fear the measuring tape anymore , Acai Berri.
If she looks anything like her sister Hallie, her fear was unfounded in the first place.
We know the method to quit the aging process.
So do I. Unfortunately, it’s also the method to quit the breathing process.
Hey, I know this is a miracle cure, I have seen it on tv
And I know it is, because you just sent me an e-mail about it.
The way to her heart is through her wrist.
Next you’ll be telling us that an army marches on its wrists. (Gorilla warfare, maybe?)
Who knows what is to make a fool of oneself in the bed will understand!
Too much information, Dad.
Marvelous scent dragging women after your trail.
For the cave-gentleman demographic.
Be her eromaniac
You don’t suppose they mean “egomaniac,” do you? Or “euromaniac”? Or “ergomaniac”?
Need a standing rocket?
Is this a metaphor or a homeland security breach? (Also named to FHM’s top ten pickup lines list.)
“I am SO turned on. Good night.”
Now even your stress at work can’t stand on your way to success in bed.
Presumably, it just kind of squats there.
Your life will be worthwhile if your penis grows a little.
And if not, not. This statement sums up a belief system that underwrites an entire industry.
YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER
You,ve Won 2009 ATM card
Hey, wait a minute–this is for Bernie Madoff’s account at Washington Mutual!
Buy any product and get another 3 items for free armhole
I’ve been looking for one of those…
Life of an ordinary loser is not for you
*Your punch line goes here.*
If you’ve spotted a world-class message header in your spam filter recently, share it in the comments section below. And if you have any suggestions for creative uses of spam headers, let us know. For example, two of our editors independently came up with the idea of building poems out of the headers–shades of Newton and Leibniz simultaneously discovering advanced calculus!
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