As experts in spam control we have concluded that there’s a secret spammer’s manual out there that is followed, to varying degrees, by nearly all spammers. We thought it would be fun to try to reverse engineer this manual based on the types of things we see repeated in campaign after campaign.
- Always use ALL CAPS for your subject. People respond better to yelling.
- Subjects like “Top meds for hot sex” or “Best remedies for boosting sex” will help to allay suspicion about your intentions.
- Use lots of exclamation points. Spam filters have a hard time blocking emphatic messages because they are so much more forceful.
- Make sure the From address has nothing whatsoever to do with the pretty name as in: “Alexander Moore ” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Send spam to Americans (who are well known for being mono-lingual) in Mandarin.
- Market email lists via spam. Nobody is more susceptible to spam than spammers.
- Use the recipient’s address in the From field. This scares the hell out of them and makes them want to buy more Viagra.
- Learn to make your list merge software send messages with the variable fields exposed as in: “Hello %FIRST_NAME%.”
- The best way to avoid spam filters is to send an empty message. Of course this doesn’t give the recipient anything to do but at least your message might get delivered.
- Make your message come from an address on an Italian domain and contain nothing but link to a Russian domain (and for bonus points use one of the subjects above). No spam filter will ever flag this as spam.
- Use a subject like “Let private part torn girls apart!” and copy an AARP newsletter for the body of your message. Wait. What?
- For 419 scams try to include the phrase “this is not illegal” as often as possible.
- Add “Re:” to the beginning of your subject to make the recipient think you’re replying to an email they sent to their doctor about becoming “extra-stiff down there”.
- Send multiple copies of the same email to the same recipient. Maybe they’ll decide it’s not spam after they’ve seen it forty or fifty times.
- Try to spoof random “From:” addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org because everybody knows somebody named “eypuhiriry” or “qyjoij”.
These are just a few of the brilliant ideas that we think must be in the spammer’s manual. If anybody has the real spammer’s manual please leave a comment and let us know if we’re on the right track.
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