Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!


Erin has moved her blog to a new URL and given it a complete makeover. You should check it out, if you haven't already.

To anybody who sent me e-mail between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. yesterday, could you please resend your letters? Any e-mail sent to any address between those hours has been deleted and lost forever.

It's my fault, really. at around 9:00 a.m., I received a really objectionable piece of spam (someone in Russia wanted to sell the world videotapes of non-consentual sex), and I blew my top. After reporting the e-mail to SpamCop, I logged into my mail administrator and added to my domain filters. I've gotten myself a good set of filters. If anybody tries to send me e-mail with various standard catchphrases selling me multi-level marketing plans, viagra, or penis enhancement devices, it gets deleted, no questions asked. My mailbox doesn't even smell the offending piece of spam. I even have my server delete e-mails whose subject lines contain ten consecutive space characters, since a lot of spam e-mails bear a subject line of "Buy this stuff!          random number", for god knows what reason. I think this procedure has eliminated about 99% of the spam I've received.


But as for the remaining 5%, I look for consistent phrases or addresses I can use to enhance my filters. Looking at the really offensive spam I'd received, I thought I'd caught something consistent: in the header, the spam was received by I'd seen that phrase in other e-mails, and the name sounds like a spamhouse. So, I went into my domain filters and added "delete all e-mails whose header contains classifiedguide". Then, still fuming, I spent some time looking around the CAUCE website.

I'd forgotten to check my legitimate e-mail. If I had, I would have found that every last one of them had also been received by is a server on Virtual Vision, which hosts Sitehouse and which is NOT a spamhouse. I'd just told my e-mail server to delete every last piece of e-mail that crossed into Sitehouse territory.


I got that rule deleted by three in the afternoon, but I'd lost at least a dozen pieces of e-mail from the various mailing lists I belong to. Most of these I was able to look up online, but personal e-mails don't have this luxury. So, if you sent me anything yesterday, it's probably best to resend it.

Andy Scott of Virtual Vision was most kind and did not laugh at my elementary mistake. He tells me that his company is setting up spam filters, which could make my own filters unnecessary. Good luck to him, I say.

Speaking of long-suffering people, the folks at Hormel foods know how to exploit a good marketing opportunity using an appropriated and much maligned term and loads of good humour. Has anybody actually eaten spam?

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