A few weeks ago, I urged you not to read my latest blog. So if you took my advice, well done, and I hope you enjoyed the five minutes of your life that I kindly gave back to you. If you didn’t, thank you for loving my writing too much. Note to self: must get a carpenter to enlarge the door to my study, so that my head will fit through it.
Part of my reason for offering such unusual and self-deprecating (and possibly self-destructive) advice was because I had woken up to a bulging inbox with something like 300 messages in it, off the top of my head. I had no hope in hell of reading all of it (and still haven’t) and if I accidentally deleted the entire lot, I probably wouldn’t be any worse off. But what I didn’t include in that total was the massive load of spam in my spam folder.
I really don’t understand spam. And I understand spammers even less. Are people really that stupid that they will hand over bank details to the Right Honourable Richard Harrison QC to try and get a share of the alleged 80 million US dollars that’s been randomly bequeathed to them? Maybe once upon a time when email was still a relatively new phenomenon, but surely not these days.
I also really don't understand the point of blindingly obvious and pointless spam. By that, I mean spam that cannot be anything else and that I would never think is genuine in a million years. Let me demonstrate. This comment below was left on a blog I posted a few years. I have copied it verbatim below:
'My wife and i were very thankful Ervin managed to conclude his inquiry from the ideas he came across from your very own site. It is now and again perplexing just to possibly be freely giving strategies that many people may have been making money from. We acknowledge we need the writer to be grateful to for this. The main explanations you made, the simple blog navigation, the friendships you can make it easier to engender - it's got most superb, and it is letting our son and the family know that the theme is awesome, and that's especially indispensable. Thank you for the whole lot!'
Clear as mud, I’m sure you’ll agree. Maybe they're advertising something. If so, what are they advertising, exactly? Ah, let me have a look at the link they left to click on too: one-girl222. Hm, ok, so maybe it's a porn site. Or maybe it isn't. If it IS porn – and I'm just guessing here, obviously – then I imagine porn isn't that difficult to find on the internet...is it? So why would I click on a potentially dodgy link which might give my computer a virus? And if it isn't porn, then how can I guess from either the title of the website or the gibberish nonsense of a comment that was left what the site is?
I also received this:
'Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks.'
As the cool kids say: WTF? It's as if they've grabbed a thesaurus and just picked out random words. Or, perhaps, entered the first thing that comes in their heads into Google Translate, when their grasp of their own language (sorry, but they really can't be native English speakers) is so desperately poor in the first place that they should never have left primary school – if indeed they went to one.
The link provided with the comment this time? Some sort of hosting website, I think: availhosting. So, same question: why would I visit it if it could potentially be full of viruses or bugs or anything else, when I can just find what I want online in nano-seconds? And why would I visit it if their perception of professionalism is using language like 'I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just don't know about.' You get irked, do you? Yeah, me too, pal...
It strikes me that these geniuses are wasting everybody's time – including their own. I don't even click on apparently legitimate Google Ads at the top of my Gmail inbox or the sponsored ads at the side. Nor does anybody else I know, either. So why, dear spammers, do you think anybody is going to click on cheapfurniturepolish.com – or lonelylatvians.org – when the blog they're reading is about copywriting or advertising? Frankly, you would be much better advised to go away and get yourself a proper job. Go and try hacking into the CIA’s website in your spare time if that gets your rocks off and you fancy a challenge. Because really, apart from annoying everybody, you're also just embarrassing yourselves.
Ashley is a copywriter, blogger and editor