SPAM remains alive and intrusive during Pandemic

Bloggers love visits and comments but are often discouraged when they see that some of those come from spammers.

At least the spammers aren’t here in my den and, insofar as I know, their messages don’t transmit COVID-19 even though some of them promise that they can provide the most accurate information on the planet about the pandemic. I see those people as just another example of folks with no qualifications who are disputing the statements being made by people with medical/research qualifications. Plus, they want me to pay for their opinions. I think not.

Fortunately, WordPress screens all that out and puts it in a special trash bin where I can glance at it to make sure it’s SPAM. 99.99% of the time, it has no value. So, gentle reader–as Dorothy Parker used to say in her columns–I screen all the schlock to you don’t have to see it and then figure out how to un-see it.

Basically, I think the Feds should round up all the spammers and put them in asylums where they will learn the errors of their ways or, if they can’t/won’t, are kept confined to they don’t harm innocent people.

Every once in awhile their comments are funny (or at least slightly creative):

  • Receive one hundred rolls of high-quality, gently used toilet paper per month in unmarked packages for less than the cost of a dinner for five at Antoine’s in New Orleans or a new Maserati (Levante). Not responsible for shipping delays.
  • Stay ahead of the Pandemic info by subscribing to our COVID newsletter which collects all the half-truths and spurious ideas together in one place, making it easy for you to compare right and wrong in the daily news.
  • Our six-foot poles made from oak will make it easy for you to maintain proper social distancing at grocery stores, pharmacies, and take-out lines at restaurants. No longer will you have to believe the drunk standing next to you who thinks four feet is okay. Our poles can be used as lances should the need arise. 

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve spared you from everything beneath the surface. I’m sure you’re all grateful.

–Malcolm

“Widely Scattered Ghosts” is currently free on Smashwords.

 

Recent Spam Has Been Low-Quality Stuff.

Do you ever wonder who writes SPAM? Is there a college course or maybe even a degree program (sort of like an MFA) that teaches effective SPAM techniques that will maximize your time, your words, and your income? If the recent SPAM in my queue here is any indication, it appears that border-line illiteracy is the primary entry mode into a SPAM-writing career.

  • I read your blog every day and tell my friends about it and think about it while using the bathroom. Most bloggers don’t have the time to write gospel every day. Find out how a curated stream of lightly plagiarized and repurposed posts from the dark web will bring you more readers than you can shake a stick at.  We guarantee that only 3% is infected with malware.
  • When you cheat on your wife, do your paramours still say “this old man has still got it?” If not, you’re missing the best life has to offer. Contact Mister Pimp’s Generic Viagra and you’ll find that being over the hill doesn’t mean you’re dead in bed.
  • Having trouble writing New Year’s Resolutions? Tell us your worst sins and we’ll craft resolutions they might even get you arrested. Contact Sing Sing, Box 666, for details.
  • Want a college degree without doing the work? MFA, PhD, MD, THd: we cater to all needs. Plans include forged transcripts from the nation’s best universities. We promise, you probably won’t get caught. Contact: DiplomaMill@EasyPeasyDegree.net
  • Your a writer, rite? If you’l endorse are book piracy cite, we’ll cut you in on the prophets. Can’t beet that, rite? Simply display our stolen HTML code in the right-hand column of you’re blog, and we’ll cut you in. No harm, no fowl. Need more info: freebooks@stolenwords.org.

You can thank your lucky stars that the WordPress SPAM catcher filters out 99.99% of this stuff so that you never see it. However, if you feel you’re missing out, let me know in a comment and I’ll give these SPAMMERS your e-mail address. Hope this helps.

Malcolm

Recent Spam (brought to you as a public service)

Gentle readers, you are spared most of the spammers’ attempts to plant insidious advertisements in the comments section of this blog by WordPress’ crack spam-busting software called Akismet. It collects spam in a toilet-styled file where I can look at it to make sure it’s really sh_t. It always is. Here are a few recent examples.

  • Dear Blogger: Writing a blog with fresh new material is a lonely job. Let our professional writers help you with factory fresh posts that will keep your readers excited and happy. (I got so tired of seeing this that I sent them a note saying I am a professional writer and don’t need any help.)
  • This is the best blog since sliced bread. I bookmarked it today and told all my friends about it. In return, we hope you’ll contact us whenever you’re ready to buy your own cemetery plot, burial urn, or headstone. We’re having a sale on pre-used epitaphs this week. (I emailed them and said I was using Dorothy Parker’s quote ““Time doth flit; oh shit” for my epitaph.)
  • You’re so honest about your troubles in the bedroom, we would like to introduce you to the Viagra Of The Month Club. Money back if you can’t meet the needs or your trophy wife. (I never mention the bedroom.)
  • There are many “Google-yourself-sites” out there that promise to tell you things about yourself that you were too drunk or too stoned to remember. For a mere $25 per week, we’ll keep your online profile sparkling clean so that you’ll never wake up one morning and see this headline: MALCOLM CAMPBELL CAUGHT IN BROTHEL STING. (I told them my wife doesn’t allow me to go to brothels.)
  • You’re obviously a down-and-out guy who needs financial help to make ends meet. Sign up for our Ponzi Scheme Newsletter for exciting money-making opportunities that won’t bite you in the ass like those reported on the evening news. (I gave them the names of Facebook friends who hadn’t commented on any of my posts in months.)
  • We think your protagonist Jock Stewart is really you. Send us five grand today and we won’t tell anybody. (I told them to tell everyone they want because that will help sales of “Special Investigative Reporter.”)
  • Our plastic surgery program will make you look young again. Dr. Smith, who’s helped thousands of criminals change their looks, will do the same for you. Completely confidential as long as you keep up with your payments. (I told them that looking old meant that I had lived life rather than turning into a spammer.) 
  • We know who you are and we saw what you did. (I asked them if they want to work as my publicist, but got no response.)

I’ve left out the URLs for this spam to keep those who read this blog from trying out some of the offers and ending up another day older and deeper in debt.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the comedy/satire “Special Investigative Reporter,” available from Thomas-Jacob Publishing in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

 

If you’re naughty. Santa leaves SPAM in your stocking

Not the SPAM in a can, but the crap that shows up uninvited in your e-mail inbox and in the comments section of your blog. Fortunately, WordPress weeds out a lot of the junk. Google’s Gmail separates a fair amount of the annoying stuff, but I still get a lot of e-mails asking for money, asking for me to sign urgent petitions in which a million signatures are (for reasons never specified) “needed by midnight,” and offers far more Viagra than anyone would consider using in a hundred lifetimes.

Most of the SPAM weeded out by WordPress starts with something lame: “Hi, I want you to know that I read your blog every day and intend to tell my friends about it.” And then there’s a link to an online store or service that I don’t want.

My assumption is that as Christmas approaches, Santa reads the news and discovers that coal is really bad or really good depending on your politics. So, after a discussion with Mrs. Claus, he decided not to touch the stuff. Plus, many of today’s young people don’t equate coal in the stocking as evidence that their wrongdoings have been noted on the naughty list.

But SPAM, how nasty is that? It’s just another advertisement at best. At worst, it’s a way of opening a doorway to endless malware, viruses, and perhaps death. Of course, most of the medications we take indicate that death is a potential side effect, so how bad can death be? From Santa’s viewpoint, your friendly pharmacist in the white coat pushes more death than the anonymous spammer who promises riches in the Bitcoin market.

Most spammers who try to sneak their comments into this blog are trying to sell software that will write this blog for me and/or monetize it in some way that will be better for me–and any reader who believes the pitch–than winning the lottery. The pitches often begin with: “I notice you don’t have much new material on this blog.” Gosh, they probably sweet talk everybody like that. And then they continue with: “Most bloggers aren’t writers, so we’ll supply a slew of curated crap that will fill up your week’s post with the kind of stuff people want to read. You won’t have to write another word.”

My only question is this: “will the people who read that curated crap be so happy and inspired they’ll buy my novels?”

The spammers say, “Malcolm, of course, they will. You’ll be the new James Patterson.”

Wow, really? Where do I sign?

“Right here where you promise to hand over your next child, your house, your Jaguar, and the access codes to all of your bank accounts.”

Does that sound good to you? No, I didn’t think so. The thing is, the SPAM industry keeps trying to sell it to me. Apparently, it’s illegal to harm those people or even to create a virus that goes back to their computers and fries the hell out of them (the computers). Maybe I should call a conjure lady and ask her to put a hex on them, some kind of plague maybe like frogs in the kitchen and wasps in the bedroom.

Christmas SPAM seems to be the worst SPAM. Supposedly, if I sign up, I’ll experience joy and love and a guarantee that my stocking will never be filled with coal or more SPAM. Gosh, if that doesn’t represent the true magic and spirit of Christmas, I don’t know what does.

I almost feel like wishing the spammers Merry Christmas. Hmm, maybe next year. Between now and then, I’ll try to stay off the “naughty list.”

This has been a wonderful Christmas, one that didn’t require SPAM or smoke and mirrors to make it happen. I hope your Christmas Day is unfolding the same way.

Malcolm

 

 

 

 

All of you political PR flaks need to quit bugging me

God forbid you should ever donate to a cause because once you do, your in-basket will be filled with dire warnings such as DONATE NOW TO STOP WORLD FROM BLOWING UP.

Does this almost-SPAM really work?

I associate it with the kinds of pitches I see aired with late-night TV shows where actors who look as reputable as Hannibal Lector try to push “miracle” products that I can get delivered immediately at 99% off if I call now. “Operators are standing by.”

So now, it’s politics. The bogus theme I hate most is, “Hey, Malcolm, we need 100,000 signatures by midnight to stop [whoever] from doing [whatever].” Are you serious?  What’s with the deadline? This crap has been going on for years and suddenly I have to sign some silly petition with no legal standing by midnight?

And, “Malcolm, are you with us? A mysterious donor will triple match all contributions made in the next 15 minutes.”

I wonder how long it will be before this shrill rhetoric turns into outright threats. “DONATE OR DIE. Killers are standing by to rub out everyone who fails to support our nonviolent loving kindness campaign by high noon.”

When I see a lot of this schlock from the same place, I unsubscribe, assuming I can figure out how and can get through the barrage of questions I have to answer: “Don’t you love us anymore?” “Did we do something wrong?” “Do you think we’re just a bunch of assholes?”

Then, after I unsubscribe to something I never signed up for in the first place, guess how much good it does? Nada. Zip. The dire messages and pleas for money keep coming.

I figure e-mail SPAM and blog comment SPAM must work because they aren’t going away. I’m starting to think that I should use this technique to sell my books: “Hello, buy a copy of Conjure Woman’s Cat by midnight or I’ll put a hex on your ass.”

Okay, it was just a thought.

But seriously, you political bastards asking for money and signatures before midnight need to shut the hell up. Let’s see, if given the choice between donating to your petition drive or buying a bottle of Scotch, what should I do? I’m buying the Scotch because it tastes good while the petition drive probably isn’t going to do squat.

I saw an article today that said most cell phone calls will soon be from spammers. I can believe that. Most of the e-mail in my in-basket is SPAM. Thank goodness WordPress weeds out most of the SPAM comments on my blog. Everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening.

The reason is simple: those doing the talking are selling snake oil.

Malcolm

 

 

 

Nobody cares: my SPAM queue is empty

When I log on, I normally see a WordPress notice that says there are 100000000000 messages in your SPAM queue. Basically, I think that if a spammer does such a poor job trying to comment on one of my posts that his/her comment ends up in the SPAM queue, s/he is sending substandard SPAM. But today, the queue was empty.

I felt so alone, discounted maybe. Perhaps spammers are boycotting my blog because they go in the SPAM queue where their efforts are all for nothing.

Here are some examples of the kinds of wonders I usually find in the queue:

  • I notice that you need some interesting posts in this blog. Get posts from our software and you’ll never write another one. (Hey clown, have you noticed that I’m a writer and can hardly call attention to my work by using canned posts?)
  • Date Russian babes. (My wife doesn’t allow me to date Russian babes.)
  • Try this safe and effective Viagra substitute for a stunning 15-hour erection. (If I go into the gigolo business and/or start dating multiple Russian babes, I’ll let you know. Don’t call me, I’ll call you–yeah, right.)
  • Our off-grid investment plan is so effective and private that only 10% of our clients end up in jail for money laundering. (I hope those clients weren’t using too much bleach.)
  • I’m going to bookmark this post so I can come back and read it again. (Please don’t.)
  • Free burial insurance without having to list preexisting conditions. Many of our clients have been dead for weeks before a well-meaning relative forges their signature on the application. We guarantee that only 10% of our clients wind up in the wrong grave yard. (Tempting, but no.)
  • We’re selling real SPAM at a discount. This week, 50% off “SPAM® with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning” that normally sells for $3.50. Free “Wood SPAM® Brand Piggy Cutting Board” with every thousand dollars you order. (Okay, you’re Hormel Foods trying a new marketing approach, right?)
  • Scientists have proven it’s now safe to brush your teeth with Saniflush if you don’t use it 100 times a day. We have a warehouse full of the stuff we snapped up when the brand was discontinued, and that means a deal for you. (No.)
  • New home security system test. Our pros will attempt to break into your house to see if your system works. If you don’t see us, your system failed. If you do, your system is effective. Send $1000 and your address along with the typical times of day when nobody’s home. (You guys work for SNL right?”)
  • Guard your Internet connection from fake news. Download our $56.00 virus and you’ll never see another phony news story again. (Will I see any more SPAM?)

If your comments ever end up in my SPAM queue, try again, you know, if you feel lucky.

–Malcolm

Malcolm is the author of the satirical crime novel “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.” (Only 10% of his readers go nuts before getting to the end up this novel.)

Russia Hacks WordPress Spam Queues, Distributes Viagra ads to Vatican

Moscow, January 13, 2017, Star-gazer News Service–Red faced officials at Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (FSB) confessed today that their hacker bots “went awry” and offloaded millions of dormant WordPress spam queue ads for Viagra, condoms, and sex toys and massaged them into Vatican servers where “computer systems became stuck in limbo.”

According to insiders who were not authorized to admit they were insiders, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov was unavailable for comment because he was personally reading every one of the spam posts to “learn more about helpful products for anyone who might be impotent.”

The Vatican told reporters “we are not amused.”

Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.
Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.

Putin complained that the hacker bots were built in North Korea and were guaranteed personally by boss man Kim Jong-un who said, “sometimes Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) and I get our panties in a wad about the same things. Strange but true. And, as we say in our butt of the woods, ‘Aneun gildo muleogara’ (Even if you know the way, ask one more time.)”

Putin sent a dozen, long-stemmed red roses to the Pope with a card that said, “Lighten up, sweetheart, and start Putin on the Ritz.”

According to Take-a-Leaks, the Russian nonprofit that steals documents without a warrant and shows them to people who aren’t supposed to see them, “We do not have any direct dealings with Mr. Putin or Mr. un, so we are in the clear even though we may have inadvertently sent copies of the critically important information to ‘Weekly Reader,’ ‘Highlights for Children,’ and ‘Watchtower.'”

Various and sundry security agencies in the United States told Congress that “in light of everything that may have happened lately, this is a real hoot for Friday the 13th. We knew somebody somewhere would get caught with their pants down, we just weren’t sure who. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t us.”

Industry spokesmen said that unauthorized erections were up 20%.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

Walked into the spam queue and found nothing there

After finishing the festive part of my day–putting up the outside Christmas lights–I gulped down a shot of morphine, calmed my mind, and went down into the WordPress netherworld where the spam queue is guarded by snakes, lost souls, and the ghost of Jack the Ripper.

WordPress spam queue
WordPress spam queue

Fortified against demons and chaos as I was, I felt as strong as anyone does when they confront their personal hell. Maybe I should have studied Jung’s “Red Book” longer rather than taking drugs. Listen, I’m not making this up: neither Carl Jung nor morphine prepared me for the utter and infinite nothingness of an empty spam queue.

An illusion?

Perhaps so. After all, we’ve learned–as I posted yesterday–that we have no clue what reality is all about. Stands to reason, we probably know squat about unreality as well.

Unreality is an empty spam queue

  • It’s like falling into the Chamber of Secrets and finding no secrets–or even a nasty basilisk
  • It’s like going to your late aunt Agatha’s abandoned house to clean out the attic and having a cold feeling that her noxious ghost is there, but not seeing anything and not being able to convince anyone else is time to leave.
  • It’s like watching a horror movie on a dark and stormy night when the power goes out and you feel like you’re not alone.
  • It’s like all kinds of things, but most of them are outside the scope of this post.

The only real thing in the spam queue is the sound of dripping water, or maybe it’s blood or Gatorade–nobody quite knows–but I heard it today and within the vast nothingness of the afternoon, the normalcy of the sound became worse than the sound of the tell tale heart in Poe’s story. Drip…drip…drip. Nobody ever finds the dripping water, or whatever, because the place is jam packed full of spam. Except not today.

It’s not that I miss the spam, those penny Viagra sales, the services that write posts for your blog, the prospective foreign wives who want marriage and a green card before they disappear, the something-for-nothing stock brokers, the SEO experts who say my blog isn’t SEO optimized, the people from Colorado selling pot in oregano bottles, and all the other black market crap that’s actually cheaper at your downtown department store.

No, it’s not that I miss it, I don’t believe it isn’t there. Somehow, the unseemly became unseen like an invisible mirage. You’ve probably seen those horror movies where scary music blasts into your head every time some hapless character opens a closet door–yet nothing bad springs out. You know something the hapless character doesn’t know. What you know is that after 15 closet doors have been okay, the 16th door is hiding something really bad, something so bad that the sound track won’t even tip anyone off that the door should never be opened.

That’s the feeling I had this afternoon in the empty spam queue, you know, that it wasn’t really as empty as it looked, that I’d walk around a corner with my guard down and fall into a pit of maggots selling auto insurance to anyone in my state.

Worse yet, with no visible spam, the place was open to all possible spam, the spam of my nightmares, the spam I think about on lonely roads, the spam people threaten me with during Facebook flame wars–this is the cruelest cut of all, the “empty” spam queue, because the spammers know that the spam of my fears is worse than anything they can ever deliver.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the occasional author of paranormal stuff (surprised?) like Cora’s Crossing, Willing Spirits and Moonlight and Ghosts.

“Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, spammers?”

As many of you know, I take a dim view of spammers because they show up and do their business here without taking part in the conversation or sharing my posts on Twitter or Facebook. Just imagine yourself having a dinner table conversation with your family about the best books you’ve ever read when somebody you don’t know walks into your house, sits down at the table, eats a plate full of mashed potatoes and gravy, and says, “So, y’all want a way to get some cheap condoms?”

That’s a spammer for you.

Spin the wheel of fortune when you leave spam on my posts
Spin the wheel of fortune when you leave spam on my posts – Wikipedia Photo

I appreciate the fact that WordPress weeds out most of the people who try to stop by our blogs to steal all the gravy. But, there’s more work to be done.

With that in mind, I’ve installed my Anti-Spammer Hex App that tracks down those who show up on this blog and on my “Sun Singer’s Travels” blog and try to sell us stuff that has nothing to do with my posts–and worse yet–don’t pay for advertising on my site.

While working on Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman, I took a lot of notes about spells, magic, candles, plants and especially protection hexes. If you ever hired a hoodoo practitioner, you might have been handed a mojo bag filled with the ingredients of the “law keep away” spell. (It does just what you think it does.)

Well, I’ve modified the “law keep away” spell with extra graveyard dirt obtained from cemeteries that cater to sociopaths and have merged that into the traditional mix while burning a black candle during the new moon as a squinch owl shouted curses from a longleaf pine tree. The resulting formula has undergone rigorous testing at a town near you or maybe even in your neighborhood. If there have been any recent outbreaks of green apple quick step, lice, or mysteriously appearing vulgar tattoos, a spammer or two just wasn’t lucky.

The luck comes into the mix through a random number generator subroutine I added to my assembly language code. This gives spammers a 1 in 100 chance of getting away with leaving a free message here on my blog without being hexed. See, I can be a good sport about this even though the odds favor the house.

So, if you’ve stopped by with a spam message, just ask yourself. . .well, you know what.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s two hoodoo novels can be found at Amazon in paperback and e-book editions. The audio edition of “Conjure Woman’s Cat” received an Earphones Award Winner at AudioFile Magazine.

An Immodest Proposal

The SPAM I Grew Up With
During the three years I’ve had this blog, I’ve made 415 posts, received 1,527 real comments and watched the Akismet filter trash 22,014 attempted SPAM comments. Without a doubt, none of the trashed comments were about the Hormel product I grew up with.

I’ll stipulate that I feel a slight–but fleeting–sense of embarrassment having to report that spammers have been busier trying to add their thoughts to the flow of words on Malcolm’s Round Table than I have.

And they’re bolder. I post something about Glacier, a spammer says, “Hi Dude, this reminds me of a place to get cheap Viagra.” I post something about one of my books, and here comes a long spam message about an automotive training school in London.

Most of these comments don’t see the light of day, thanks to Akismet.

I know this might sound like bribery, but I have a proposal, one that may sound a bit vain and immodest. When I see virtual SPAM, I ask “what’s in it for me?” That is, why should I provide free Internet space to somebody I don’t know who sells Viagra for a living?

But there could be something in it for me. For each spammer who buys a copy of one of my books (you have three to choose from), I will make a deal with Akismet to let you tell the world about your Viagra, downstream Internet marketing system, or your teliseminar about weight loss in the comments section here.

Simply buy a book, read it, enjoy it (or else) and post a glowing review on Amazon that proves you really know what the book’s about, and then send me your SPAM. You help me, I help you.

Send me a comment with your real name, picture, home address, Amazon account number and tell me what you think.

Otherwise, I much prefer the SPAM I grew up with.

Malcolm

Experience the magic of Robert Adams' Quest