Smart spam and stupid spam and stock spam? Spam spam spam!

On: April 17, 2007
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About Anne Helmond
Anne Helmond is Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture and Program Director of the MA New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective where she focuses her research on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. Her research interests include digital methods, software studies, platform studies, app studies, infrastructure studies and web history.


I was originally going to write about smart spam but recent spam led me to write about stupid spam.

Spammers are constantly improving their methods to get through spamfilters. They increasingly use random names and academic, computer and web related words to make spamfilters believe it is a valid message. However poetic these messages may seem they mean nothing to humans:

It, they deserve atom. Amazon web servicesdr, karen. Make floorand voted words theyre whodecide. Name, uses sp laquo. Biocontact info hcard phillip windley brigham young. Is the rules chairman. Lc some rights reserved, trademark united states. Government he was first politician oranywhere hes taken big. Steve urquhart is, the rules, chairman of, utah. So you knowright now secrets mental math arthur? Wrote peoples hearts close when. Their elected an effort give direct handle issues. Arthur benjamin name uses sp laquo. Post delicious format, commenti, encourage leave. White rssdigital id up, linux service? Be done does attenuate, benefits vistacan rootkit certified vista. October september august july june may april. Peoples hearts close when, more chris locke due process. (received April 4, 2007)

An image is attached to the message with stock information pursuing readers to buy this stock. So far, so good (I don’t mind a poem a day.)

But lately I received two very interesting spam messages:

hi Myrrh Look at UFSJ symbol, it amazing.
Looks like it start to burn.

UP 500% in 2 days
Good afternoon, Mr Lambert.

They reminded me of these adds in the newspapers that look like meetup schedules for drug transfers. I was so intrigued by the obscurity of the message that I actually visited the URL of the last message. It turned up the picture of the guy with the glasses:


This was actually pretty fun since it felt like clue hunting! HUMET-PBC (L9Z.F)? Uh, what? Google then led me to a German stocktraders site warning about this stock being spam and another site led me to the Spam Stock FAQ.

This made me wonder what sense does this spam make? If people have to follow several steps to get to the product offered? I must admit that I did it out of curiosity but I don’t get it. Do spammers actually think this might influence the stock prices?


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