Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beowulf was an email spammer

I maintain a couple of email addresses through a free service just in case the Xenite server crashes so utterly we cannot get email through (happens maybe once every two years). We use one of the email addresses to handle domain info, too.

Well, someone publishes that email address (probably the domain registrar) and therefore it gets lots of spam.

Once or twice a month I go in and scan the incoming messages. If I see nothing useful I flag the whole kit'n'kaboodle as spam, delete the junk mail, and move on.

Tonight I saw a message from "Eoforhild" something or other. I thought, as I flagged everything as spam, "Waitaminnit. That could be a Tolkien fan trying to contact me through an unlikely back door."

Well, I opened up the message and found I could not read it because it was written (partially) in Old English. While the average "Beowulf" scholar might have gotten a chuckle out of the experience, I onlly rolled my eyes. I couldn't even see what the spammer was selling.

Maybe someone is just having a little fun with me. I don't know. Don't care.

But if you're going to send me spam, at least make it legible. The SEO forum spammers are actually much better at constructing almost believable text than the email spammers. I guess that is because the biggest email spammers are based in Russia and their content is so poorly fabricated they make Nigerian scammers look like eloquent and articulate academics.

I maybe some of the spammers are experimenting with Old English to see what they can slip past the Bayesian filters that are looking primarily at Modern English. But spam is spam. As soon as enough people report the Old English spam to their filtering systems, the Old English will become useless.


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