A really amusing new kind of spam appeared in my MaybeSpam folder this weekend. Here's an example:
Here's your chance for Cash Freedom
[... many blank lines to hide the payload ...]
surrounds him and by his own body. I lift my arm and let it fall. My
as the Babylonians and the Assyrians. These peoples were of
The night passed thus, without disturbing the ordinary repose of the crew.
SpamBayes scored the message at 89%, just shy of the 90% that would have landed it in CertainSpam instead of MaybeSpam. The three lines at the end, of course, are what created a bit of uncertainty. One of them seemed oddly familiar:
The night passed thus, without disturbing the ordinary repose of the crew.So I double-quoted it, Googled it, and found it in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which I had just reread the other night to re-implant the original memory of the book that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had partly overwritten.
Then I tracked down the other lines:
"surrounds him and by his own body. I lift my arm and let it fall. My", War and Peace
"as the Babylonians and the Assyrians. These peoples were of", A History of Science Volume 1
And these from the next message:
"that I had leisure to look at the people in the launch again.", The Island of Doctor Moreau
"for the aged? And is it not a palpable, unquestionable good if a", War and Peace
"bear on this important subject, we cannot fail to be struck by ", The Art of War
I love the fact that these texts are online, and that Google (and now, in some cases, Amazon) can pinpoint the references!
How to dispose of the spam? It's an interesting conundrum. If I click Delete As Spam, I'll boost the scores on these messages to 100%, and future ones won't clutter up my MaybeSpam folder, which I like to keep to at most a handful of messages a day. But do I really want to consign Jules Verne and Sun Tzu and Leo Tolstoy to the CertainSpam folder? Seems like sacrilege, in a way. And will classifying the messages as CertainSpam dilute the efficacy of SpamBayes' frequency database?
To tell you the truth, I'm confident that SpamBayes can deal with this new challenge. I'm reluctant to let it, for now, because (until the novelty wears off) it's kind of fun to see these fragments of great literature fly by.
In the TiVo era, the only TV commercials that survive may be the ones that people actually choose to watch. For spammers, too, survival may depend on delivering entertainment value.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/11/16.html#a848