The Transporting Poetry of Spam Coding

I found this in my spam queue. I found it oddly poetic.


{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me.
{In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did,
the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.

I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting. {Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed} as I
{can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?
{Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so
that|in order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe.
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy.
{I have|I’ve} read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}. {Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write next articles referring to this article. I {want to|wish to|desire to} read {more|even more} things about it!|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make {a few|some} plans for
{the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve} {read|learn} this {post|submit|publish|put up} and if I {may just|may|could} I {want
to|wish to|desire to} {suggest|recommend|counsel} you {few|some} {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} {things|issues} or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write {next|subsequent} articles {relating to|referring to|regarding} this article.
I {want to|wish to|desire to} {read|learn} {more|even more} {things|issues} {approximately|about} it!


And then I deleted it. Because it’s spam, after all.

30 Comments on “The Transporting Poetry of Spam Coding”

  1. Why, John! You think you’re the only recipient? I just deleted the same item from my spam queue last night.

    I must admit, though, that I did not, at the time, observe the odd elfin beauty of the syntax..

  2. Interesting. The bang | character is a common separator so it sure does look like that was meant to be fed into some sort of parser which would pick one of the items within the {} delimiters. I’d guess it’s done that way to slow down the systems that filter spam based on seeing identical messages going to a huge number of disconnected people, like the way Rackspace says here they do global-level analysis.

  3. {since|because|whereas|when in the course of human events} feeling is {first|primary|y’know, there}
    who {pays|pins|purchases|purloins} any attention
    to the {syntax|luxury tax|fiscal cliff} of {things|stuff|whatever}
    will never wholly {kiss|grope|canoodle} you

  4. Looks like someone forgot to run the template through the randomizer before sending.

  5. @Pavel Lishin Yeah! I could have sworn I read a science fiction short story that was written just like this spam letter. The central conceit was quantum superstates applied to two lovers. Wish I could remember the name.

  6. @Greg: A good name for such a story would be I Love You, I Love You Not (already taken by a movie unfortunately). Only instead of flower petals she would make her decision based on paired photon spin state.

  7. Thanks for the headache, John Scalzi. I will be sending you a gift basket and card to show you just how grateful I am for the headache you’ve just given me. Thanks a lot, man.

  8. Here’s how I read this:

    I have been [VERB ENDING IN -ING] online more than [NUMBER LESS THAN FIVE] hours today, yet I never found any [ADJECTIVE] article like yours. It is [ADVERB] worth enough for me.
    [WEASEL INTRO PHRASE], if all [PLURAL NERD NOUN] and [DIFFERENT PLURAL NERD NOUN] made good [NOUN] as you did, the net will be a lot more [ADJECTIVE] than ever before.

  9. And then I deleted it. Because it’s spam, after all.

    Yet here it is at the top of the page. It looks to me like you moved it.

  10. I’ve gotten the (options all selected) version of this, and others praising my content, my ancestry, and my native intelligence, about 100 times on a single test post on a WordPress site I set up. I wonder if it’s specific to WordPress? Hard to imagine there are really 100 people who think “This is a test post” is deathless prose and the website worthy of awards. Funny you got the code version, though.

  11. @Greg I could have sworn I read a science fiction short story that was written just like this spam letter. The central conceit was quantum superstates applied to two lovers. Wish I could remember the name.

    There was a story called “Space Opera for (Purists) (Modernists) which told the classic story of a hero who saved the world by obtaining the (spit)(semen) of a rare pangolin, winning the love of the scientist’s (blonde)(blond) (daughter)(son).

  12. Greg, I’m pretty sure I read the same short story. Like this spam it was oddly poetic, though intentionally so. It’s not the one Andrew references. It was much older, probably from Analog. Dude, it’s going to bug me till I remember. Shit.

  13. Well, it sort of works as a stream-of-consciousness piece. What’s really wrong is that I looked at it and thought, I could write enough perl code in a few hours to make the message and the mailing actually work…

    Not that I ever would, mind you…

  14. That’s a text spinner – known and loved by SEO spammers everywhere, mostly shows up in comments but used for a hell of a lot more.

    It’s designed so that you set it up once, then the spinner produces so many copies of the text with randomized elements. It’s used to defeat spam filters, and also in articles to beat Copyscape or other plagiarism checkers. (Say you’ve got an article but you want to send it to ten different blogs in order to get backlinks, and they all want unique content? Set it up right in the spinner and you can get as many different versions as you need.)

    If you ever want to know why spam reads rather weirdly, it’s because of these, not because English isn’t their first language. Spammers don’t have the time or patience to make sure every iteration is 100% correct. So in this case, someone is using an all-in-one application to generate and spam WordPress comments, and they forgot to switch on the spinner before posting.

    Source: I know some guys who work for spammers. :P

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