spam: 844, email: 24

i just got back from a great week of thanksgiving vacation with my lovely fiancee and her family. after walking in the door, i began the homecoming ritual in short order, so i could maximize my relaxation time prior to going back to the grind on monday. the ritual is pretty well established for me:

  1. drop luggage in staging area
  2. wander around house making sure everything looks ok
  3. check to see if any plants died
  4. go to (snail) mailbox and get stack of mail
  5. soak in the feeling of being home again (smile in the process)
  6. unpack
  7. take empty luggage down to garage
  8. open refrigerator and look for biology experiments gone terribly wrong; dispose of anything hairy, black or slimy that shouldn’t be
  9. make shopping list and go to grocery store; come home and unpack groceries
  10. wake up computer
  11. check email

things went really well until i got to step 11. no plants died. the house didn’t burn down. unpacking was easy. the stack of mail wasn’t nearly as heinous as it could have been. yes, it was all smashing, right up until the moment when i stepped out of the real world and into my Inbox:

     Inbox: (868 unread messages)

suffice it to say that i am not nearly popular enough to warrant this volume of fan mail. here’s the breakdown, Harper’s style:

  • Emails from friends: 3
  • Evites: 1
  • Mailing list emails: 6
  • Headline notifications from the New York Times: 6
  • Really, really important emails: 1 (maybe)
  • Random crap from companies I’ve bought stuff from: 7
  • Blog comment spams: 10
  • Blog comments: 0
  • Meaningless, mind-numbing spams: 834

i was gone for six days (144 hours, give or take a few hours). that averages out to about six spams per hour, or one spam every ten minutes. it’s also a signal-to-noise ratio of about 1.3% (discounting the NYTimes and companies i’ve bought crap from). in fact, if i take out the mailing list stuff and just look at emails from friends, we’re at an abysmal 0.5%. from where i sit, that’s really pathetic (and less a commentary about how popular i am than it is about the sheer volume of spam clogging the internet).

a lot of the spam came from the north pole or from santa. happy holidays! hey kids, santa’s not coming to town this year…he’s too busy sending spam!! ha ha! ho ho ho! i don’t know why this made me sad, but it did, and i don’t even like christmas.

if i think about it, one spam every ten minutes seems consistent with what i normally experience; i’ve already received seven while writing this entry, and i’ve been writing about 60 minutes. so i guess my 834-spam holiday isn’t beyond the pale, but it’s still troubling. my friend andrew thinks i shouldn’t hate spam, but i’m not entirely convinced. it consumes my time, and in my haste to wade through this mountain of less-than-worthless sh*t, it raises the likelihood that i’ll miss a message i actually care about. and keep in mind, if you got 850 pieces of physical mail in one week, would you be pissed off?

i like to think i know what i’m doing when it comes to defeating spam (two layers of spam filters, plus a separate layer on my blog), but my defense measures are about as good as a rebel defense network put together by jar jar binks. if this isn’t working for me, i wonder what it’s like for everyone else out there. granted, i had my email address publicly visible on my blog for several years, so in some sense, i deserve what i get (man, was that dumb). even so, it still seems a bit much.

if this continues, i’m going to have to decommission yet another email address and go through the arduous process of telling everyone about the new address. if i had to guess, i’d say this process will take me 1-3 days. if it was an hour, i wouldn’t really care, but it’s not. my email address has become a digital identifier that i use repeatedly and frequently, and changing it might even be harder than changing a physical address.

should i hate spammers or the people who are stupid enough to consume it, people ignorant or dumb enough to pour gasoline on the hellfire of non-information? how about both? does hating both work for you?

happy holidays!! ;-)

ps: apologies if i’m repeating myself. i know i’ve written about spam on multiple occasions in the past, but i’m too lazy to go back and see what i was frothing at the mouth about back then…

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2 thoughts on “spam: 844, email: 24

  1. Andrew

    I’m simply astonished. I guess the reason I don’t have much anxiety about spam is that I have three email accounts: gmail, yahoo (business account), and hotmail. All three of them receive spam, which is routed quite cleanly out of my inbox and into a junk folder. I NEVER use the gmail or yahoo accounts for commerce/registration…they are strictly for friends, family, and ethical business contacts. Hotmail is the “bring your best spam game” account. I use it like hookers use their privates. But with all three accounts combined, I never get more than, oh, 20, maybe 30, spams per day (80% of those going to hotmail). So, if I were gone for 6 days like you were, I’d get 180 spams across THREE mail accounts, with the high likelihood that only two or three of those were messages I wouldn’t mind receiving.
    After reading your post, I went to all FOUR of my blogs and checked to see if I had posted my email address. I did so only on one — which had been blogringed during the baseball season and STILL didn’t yield a single piece of spam. My primary web site does not show my email address on the front door, but shows it liberally on my portfolio site. That doesn’t seem to have inspired nefarious little spammers.
    There’s something rotten in Denmark, my friend. I wonder if you’re an exception rather than a rule. Even my dad, an insatiable consumer of icky porn gets only 3 or 4 rude spams per day (and completely freaks out about it). I think you’ve been marked for digital intimidation. Did you piss off somebody in Homeland Security?

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