Koan Spam

This morning I received a mystifying email from China. The body reads:

    selector articulatory avocado stairway fought contributor honoraria lakehurst face edwardine robot profuse rifle macassar artillery mournful homebound nantucket contrariwise madison teleconference balletic choosy dire bayberry carve gustavus complementary conceit wastewater otter console parasite letterman compel crank harsh nauseum bromide leghorn disk anus schumacher superstition opalescent smart tango switzerland flail amputate saguaro fluorescent edible militate ilona cowpony micky eva

Anyone know what's going on here? Did I intercept a terrorist message in code?

Posted by Jay Cross at December 29, 2003 08:42 AM | TrackBack

It's a spam test, used to decrease the efficiency of spam filters. You will notice similar strings of random words in other spam messges. There may also have been a web bug in the message to determine whether this particular set of words is fooling your spam filter (if any).


My eail address and url are wrong in this post. The comments form responded with the following error message:

"Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: downes.xx [I had to alter this]

Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment."

If there's anything I hate worse than spam, it's false positives.

Posted by: Stephen Downes at December 29, 2003 01:24 PM

Most likely you are looking at text that would be undisplayed in the intended HTML format of the message. Near the bottom of the message you will most likely see advertising that makes sense, like cheap prescription drugs or penis enlargers. As the previous post suggests, this block of random words is there so that the message might sneak by the SPAM blockers.

May you have a wonderful new year and artillery mournful homebound nantucket contrariwise madison teleconference balletic choosy, and with a much larger penis or much more valium at rediculously low prices and without a prescription.


Posted by: Gary Dickelman at December 31, 2003 06:59 AM

As I wrote Stephen, his experience led me to dig into the list of things being blackballed by the MT-Blacklist Spam filter. I had somehow added two offensive words, "none" and "family". Go figger. I removed them.

By the way, MT-Blacklist is a great service (free) for eradicating the leavings of low-life spammers.

Posted by: Jay Cross at January 9, 2004 12:03 AM

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