[Air-l] Spamming, and shotgun accuracy

Danyel Fisher danyelf at acm.org
Tue Mar 26 09:28:31 PST 2002

Today, my spam-catching hotmail inbox shows messages addressed to...

    * aspiring writers
    * refinancing homeowners
    * parents of small children
    * someone dating a girl named "jenny"
    * someone with plans to have dinner with "sandy"
    * diabetics

Now, I am actually none-of-the-above. But I would imagine that a message
sent to, say, everyone on this list would actually manage to hit quite a few
positives on a few of these. When you send out 20,000 messages, it's a
probability game. And if all they want is for you to read the first line
(and decide that you *do* want Britney Spears, nude!, or $60,000 in three
weeks, or discounts on *everything*), then they have a wide enough variety
of subject lines that it would start catching readers.

The cricket ad might have been done by a shotgun approach, or by an
only-slightly-refined method (for example, keeping a little bit of
contextual information about where they found your address, and guessing a
little further from there).


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