Conspiracy Theory for the Day

So I have this new conspiracy theory. I’m not sure if I actually believe it, but I think it’s plausible.

In my absence last week, I managed to accumulate more than 2,000 junk emails in my inbox. Many of these emails were the standard spam-fare. I recall reading that if some small percentage of people actually click a link or call a number, the cost—however small—of sending the spam is worth it to the sender. But I’ve noticed over the past year or so that more and more of the spam that I’m getting doesn’t include links, phone numbers, or anything else that might actually provide value back to the sender. I’m left wondering… what’s the point of spending the effort to send these messages?

The various spam filters that I employ work with varying degrees of success. Many emails are erroneously marked as spam; many more slip through the filters. Yesterday, in a note to a friend of mine, I attempted to discuss mortgages; the message was rejected by the outgoing mail server as being too likely to be flagged as spam. And then there’s the volumes of porn-spam that my kids get (but I’d rather not think about that). In short, email is a real PITA. And that’s a darned shame, because I interact with a great number of really interesting people via email.

So, my conspiracy theory of the day is that there is some group out there actively encouraging (and possibly funding) script kiddies and the like to clobber us with an overwhelming amount email in an attempt to cause as much pain as possible. I expect that the end goal is to drive us to more carefully controlled social networking communities with an ultimate goal of driving revenue from our communications.


FWIW, I assume that somebody else has already thought of this; feel free to post links to similar nutty theories.

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6 Responses to Conspiracy Theory for the Day

  1. Jacek Pospychala says:

    bad to hear that, Wayne. wrt spam I’m really happy with gmail – everything accurately separated. I wonder if they use any kind of distributed strategies that could theoretically overrule the desktop/small company filters. Or maybe it’s just the smaller email volume….

  2. Markus Kuppe says:

    Nonse spam (the ones you mention) is probably only used to create noise to make it harder for spam filters.

  3. I think it’s Canada Post, believing they can kill email altogether if they just try hard enough. When in doubt, blame Canada Post.

  4. Benjamin Cabé says:

    Fight the conspiracy using graylisting (, it works pretty well!

  5. Wayne Beaton says:

    @Benjamin we do. The point is that we spend a great deal of time and effort fighting spam and other junk mail with varying degrees of success. My conspiracy theory is that there are entities “out there” trying to make things like Greylisting an absolute requirement. At some point, we’re just going to get sick of all the effort we put into fighting this and accept some alternative that is otherwise unpalatable.

  6. Gilles J. says:

    As long as spamming isn’t seriously prosecuted, why should people care not to do so?

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