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  • Mark 3:52 pm on February 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , spam,   

    The spammy origins of Airbnb  

    From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, Loc 1519-1533:

    In late 2009, a few months after it had graduated from YC, Airbnb appeared to create a mechanism that automatically sent an e-mail to anyone who posted a property for rent on Craigslist, even if that person had specified that he did not want to receive unsolicited messages. If the apartment was listed in, say, Santa Barbara, the e-mail would read: “Hey, I am e-mailing because you have one of the nicest listings on Craigslist in Santa Barbara and I want to recommend you feature it on one of the largest Santa Barbara housing sites on the Web, Airbnb. The site already has 3,000,000 page views a month.” All these e-mails were identical except for the city, and they typically emanated from a Gmail account bearing a female name. Dave Gooden, another online real estate entrepreneur, recognized the soaring popularity of Airbnb in 2010 and became curious about it. Suspecting what was going on, he posted a few dummy listings on Craigslist and then wrote a blog post in May 2011 about his findings, concluding that Airbnb had registered Gmail accounts en masse and set up a system to spam everyone who posted on Craigslist. He described Airbnb’s activity as a nefarious, “black-hat” operation. “Craigslist is one of the few sites at massive scale that are still easily gamed,” he wrote. “When you scale a black hat operation like this you could easily reach tens of thousands of highly targeted people per day.” 8

  • Mark 8:36 am on January 17, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , spam, spamming,   

    spammers as the avant-garde of digital capitalism  

    From Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet by Finn Brunton pg 197. The thesis of this impressive book is that what we call ‘spam’ is fundamentally a deliberate and disenguous violation of salience: it’s because of the vast array of new instances of salience being opened up, in which we search for and have a reasonable expectation of locating relevant material, each one providing an opportunity for us to attend to something in this new digitalised archive.

    Spam persists and diversifies because we are living through a major, complex transition in the constitution and management of our own attention, a transition moving faster than our governance, our metaphors, and our software can keep up with. Spammers—the disbarred lawyers, impoverished con artists, would-be pornographers, credit card thieves, and malware coders—are the avant-garde, the wildcatting exploiters of this transition. They find domains where salience is being generated, whether in a comment thread, a search engine result, a social media platform, or your email inbox, and move to commandeer it. They are the crudest and most abject form of this capture, from students pranking each other with the words of a Monty Python sketch to global botnets producing more email than everyone else on earth, every single day. In their crude way, they show the rest of the online population the network’s new capabilities, the new forms of attention and community experience, which we have not yet fully understood.

    As he puts it on pg 199: “Spam is the use of information technology infrastructure to exploit existing aggregations of human attention.”

  • Mark 11:55 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet marketing, , spam,   

    Is the murky world of internet marketing making me paranoid? 

    Is the murky world of internet marketing making me paranoid? Or does anyone else share my scepticism about this e-mail? I’ve edited out the name in case I’m wrong but the enclosed web address & twitter feed has no content on it.

    Good day Mark!

    I hope this email finds you well.

    My name is [x], an aspiring writer. I’ve been working on sharpening my skills for about 3 years now and having my work published online has been most helpful.

    I would like to inquire if you accept contributions on markcarrigan.net from guest authors? It would be an excellent opportunity to contribute an interesting piece that will bring value to both your site and your readers.

    Do check out some of my published works on Techie Doodlers and my personal blog. Any feedback about my writing would be awesome!

    Please let me know if you are interested. I am more than happy to send a couple of topic pitches or start writing my piece right away.

    Thanks and here’s hoping I hear back from you soon!

  • Mark 7:19 pm on March 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: spam,   

    An unusual e-mail 


    Receive Calvary greetings from Miss Ashley Gaskin from Missionary Church of Montana.

    We have learned much more about the work you do through online and we are so much interested with the good work that you are carrying on and we therefore wish to donate some small funding for your project to goes to your project where funds is needed most .

    Can you please send more information about how to send online donations through a payment gateway facility and advice how long it take before you get the funds donated online?

    Thanks and Kind Regards,

    Thanks and Kind Regards,

    Miss Ashley Gaskin

    Missionary Church Of Montana

    259 Burlington Ave

    Missoula, MT 59801
    United States

    Phone: (202) 595-1226
    Fax: (202) 595-0226

    "Before you can think of printing this mail, think about the environment"

    The Bible is the Word of God; supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application and inspired in totality!

    • deafministriesconnection 5:38 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink

      I got the same email today . they do have a website – but plan on checking with a friend who lives in MT to see whats going on

    • Barbara 7:49 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink

      Our organization received the same letter. X-Originating-Ip: [] taken from e-mail points to Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. Definitely spam. These people would like nothing better than to drain your bank account.

    • Mark 12:09 pm on March 20, 2015 Permalink

      interesting, thanks for clarifying!

    • Kristen Daniel 9:44 pm on March 26, 2015 Permalink

      Glad I found this! I was wondering the same thing. lol

    • Mathew 11:13 pm on April 21, 2015 Permalink

      My organisation has also received an identical email today, this time sent through sendgrid.net.

    • 1 2:59 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      Spam, Spam, Spam

    • Mark 3:26 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      But isn’t it creepy that they’ve contrived a sprawling online identity to support it?

    • bowen 12:06 am on April 27, 2015 Permalink

      yeah it is creepy

    • bowen 12:17 am on April 27, 2015 Permalink

      did a bit for digging and you can see who owns the site here

      and the the host is connected and probably is this scammer located in India.

    • J-Kay Milton 7:24 am on April 27, 2015 Permalink

      Thanks, same as all the above. I thought the wording was strange. All the best from Australia!

    • Gloria 1:26 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink

      Surely people can be crazy! We received the same in our charity and we were all excited! Sad….

    • Michael 9:30 am on July 2, 2015 Permalink

      I received this as well. Here are the obvious signs this is a scam. 1. No one writes generic emails to offer your organization money. It simply does not happen. Only wishful thinking makes people bite on this scam at all. 2. The grammar is appalling. I pity all those who will be tricked by the first scammers who actually edit their emails. 3. Their ignorance of the context is glaring. There isn’t a church with that many fulltime employees anywhere in Montana. The employees were cut and pasted from Golden Hills Church in Antioch, California. I obviously give them an F for ethics but a B- for effort. Just imagine if they applied this level of creativity elsewhere to noncriminal activities.

    • Rick 12:58 pm on August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Thanks for all the helpful input. I suspected spam but wanted to check it out. The Lord bless you.

    • Pastor Ric 10:15 pm on September 5, 2015 Permalink

      Look carefully at the “website” photo of the church sanctuary…the pews are photoshopped together and overlap with ghost images. Since the inside aisles are missing, how do these people get to their seats? Scam, scam, scam

  • Mark 6:43 pm on August 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , spam,   

    When marketers are too lazy to disguise their fill in the blanks 

    I didn’t realise “sociologicalimagination.org” emphasised the importance of “tutor”. It’s fun to learn stuff:

    I was surfing for quality websites which emphasizes the importance of “Tutor” and found “http://sociologicalimagination.org“.
    I’m writing up this mail just to get a hold of you for appreciating your good work on maintaining an informative & attractive website on the topic of “Tutor”.
    Actually I have just put together a cool infographic on the key points of “Tutor” techniques and to add more spices we also included the latest trends evolving around this topic.
    I thought someone like you who is already writing a lot about this topic will get some insights out of it. If you can be so generic and share it in your website, it may bring more traffic and add real visitors to your site.
    Revert back if you want to check it out.
    Is this algorithmic or solely idiotic?
  • Mark 11:46 am on May 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , spam,   

    Has anyone else’s wordpress spam filter stopped working? 

    There’s loads of this stuff every single day and it’s starting to get irritating:

    Screen shot 2014-05-02 at 12.45.25

    • Felicia 12:41 pm on May 2, 2014 Permalink

      Yesterday it did for a few comments but today it seems to be working! Good luck 😀

    • Mark 12:48 pm on May 2, 2014 Permalink

      It’s been happening for weeks on mine 😦

    • Felicia 9:12 pm on May 4, 2014 Permalink

      Have you contacted WordPress?

  • Mark 8:34 am on October 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: spam,   

    Is anyone else weirdly fascinated by this sort of spam? 

    Hello my dear , How are you doing ? . My name is Miss lilian . It is my pleasure to see your profile here and it interests me to be your friend . I want us to be friends if you do not mind . Your status , country , color , age , language , tribe , religion , etc , will not prevent us to be friends as i seek for your friendship from my pure heart . I am new to this site and i may be out of it any time from now . I may not have the chance and time to log in here again to reply you here , for that reason i will be pleased if you will get back to me on (lilianuseh@yahoo.com) and i will reply you as soon as possible . I will tell you more about myself and send you my pictures if you accept my friendship . Have a lovely day . Cheers .

    And to think we never would have met if not for Facebook!

    • Roy Wilson 11:36 am on October 3, 2013 Permalink

      This type of email seems to be, sts, an elongated version of the emails of the sort that have engaging subject lines like ‘Gloria wants to pull your pud’.

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