Fun  •  October 14, 2003

Getting Creative with SPAM

I received an email that appears to be a SPAM, but it took me a while to be sure of it. It is annoying but at the same time is amusing. Creativity can manifest positively or negatively. I just wonder: If someone is creative enough to come up with something as elaborate as this, why couldn’t he/she apply it more positively? Imagine what he could accomplish, but alas. This is my analysis of his creativity, whoever he is.


I just searched in Google for asian dating site and found www.alllooksame.com ranked 28. I have a related website about Personals that’s purely informational (so I’m NOT a competitor of yours) and I’d like to link to your site.

I consider my site to be one of the best resources for this type of information. I get a decent amount of visitors to it so if I link to you, your site should get some decent traffic from it.

I only link to good quality sites... I think you’ll find my site to be high quality as well. In exchange, I would ask that you also link to my site. I’ve already linked to you and will keep it there for a few days until I hear from you. Please let me know asap if you’re interested and i’ll send you my information.

Thanks!

Angela Palmer
Email: angela@racsystem.com
MSN Messenger: p_angela1980@hotmail.com
RAC IM: 15424.

For most SPAMs, I only need a fraction of a second to figure out that they are in fact SPAMs, but this one took me a long time. I almost replied sincerely. Though I hate SPAMs, and I suffer from them daily, I have an appreciation for anything when it is done remarkably better than others. I notice, for instance, when I receive a piece of junk mail (physical junk mail) that employs a unique strategy to make me open it. As evil as their intentions may be, it is still creativity at work. If you are going to do it, you might as well do it creatively.

This one above is quite elaborate. First of all, it listed two email addresses that belong to my site alllooksame.com. Since the two addresses are not randomly paired, it looks more legitimate than seeing a horde of unrelated email addresses. I guess some robot program scanned through the site and found the two addresses, and the Spamming program that generated it is intelligent enough to put one in “To:” and another in “Cc:” to make it look even more believable. (I wonder what it would have done if it found 10 email addresses on the site.).

The writer of the email suspiciously keeps her site secret, which is odd since there is nothing to be lost by revealing it if all she wants is links exchanged. Besides, if it were true that she linked to alllooksame.com, my server log would show it as a referrer.

There is also an extra space before “asian dating” on the first line. This is a sign of automation (form letter). “asian dating” is where the variable goes into. Another version of the same SPAM may read, “I just searched in Google for food lover site and found www.bruchclub.com ranked 12.” It is either that the programmer made a mistake and left an extra space before the first variable, or that the variable itself contained a space by mistake.

Now, her email address is angela@racsystem.com. If you go to www.racsystem.com, it is a personal site of a woman named Angela with a picture of a good looking girl. The site has her resume with her employment history. Her latest employer is “Ingenuity Design Solutions”. If you search for this company, what you get is this page. It is a resume used by the job search website as a sample. This is a clear indication that Angela is a fictitious character.

Also, if you look up the registrant of racsystem.com, you will see that the owner of the domain name lives in Hong Kong, which is another proof that it is a hoax. Why would a white girl who studied at UCLA and working in San Francisco (according to her employment data) register her domain name via a guy who lives in Hong Kong?

If you do further searches using the text on www.racsystem.com, you will find the sources they used to create this fictional character. Here you can learn about the real Angela they based their character on.

What impresses me about this website (racsystem.com) is that they bothered to build this whole thing just for people like myself who would check if any website exists for the domain name used in the email address. Obviously much thought was given to this SPAM.

A big question still remains to be answered: What do they expect to get out of this SPAM? It cannot be a strategy to confirm valid email addresses; it is too elaborate and unnecessary for that purpose. If I reply to this email saying that I am interested in her offer, what would happen? I am sure that no human beings would read my reply. That would be too costly of an operation. What do they get from the fact that I replied? I have no idea. Can anyone figure this out?