Recipe for Spam

I just found this combinatorial comment trapped in my spam filter. It’s interesting to see how the raw script is composed, so they can randomly select phrases, perhaps to throw off spam filters; this one was obviously a misfire.

It’s like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure or Ad-Lib, but for spam. :)

I was impressed that it did have some minimal contextualization, automatically pulling in the title of my previous post and of my blog itself (“Annotators Anonymous � Reinventing Fire”), but was disappointed that they don’t have some sort of topic map to try to pull in related terms to truly customize the comment in a more sophisticated way.

It’s much longer than a typical spam, and pretty repetitive, with several greeting intros, so I assume that  in addition to selecting phrases, whole paragraphs were included or removed. It’s not clear if this was posted by a bot, or by a human who was meant to manually select the phrases and context; I hope for the sake of some underpaid person that it was a bot.

I’m rather skeptical about the topic of the link they chose, to “burberry outlet”, which seems to be some sort of knockoff purse vendor, and is unlikely to appeal to my audience; I’d have preferred something like a knockoff electronics shop in China, which would have had at least minimal appeal.

It linked to (a relatively cool domain name, presumably once populated with more compelling content), and it was posted by “” (IP address on 2014/04/05 at 11:22 am ET.

Some of my favorite highlights:

  • It asks if I get a lot of spam, and how I combat it (very meta!)
  • There is a section with a variety of smileys and winkies, giving them the emotional range of a fine actor
  • The adjective options (and there are a lot of them!) are all very positive and encouraging, a touch I appreciate and which flatters my ego.

C+ for content, D for spelling (quite a few errors, which I’d guess would make the spam more detectable, and which frankly grates on my nerves), F for  execution. However, I will give them a passing grade overall, because they did show their work.

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