5 ways to be crappy spammer (at least!)

This monster/spam thing is really lighting up our tiny blogosphere. It shows how a small business decision can end up ruining your job.

Poor old John Burns apparently decided to harvest the electronic mailing list of IT@Cork (you'd think an IT company would know not to publish it online!) and then use it to send spam on behalf of his employers, the job listing website monster.ie, where he works as Business Development Manager.

Mr.Burns probably expected the innocuous and badly written document to mean as little to the recipients as, say, a flyer stuck in the wipers of a parked car. Those of us who run domains and therefore receive several spams a minute (24/7/365), none of which we could ever hope to trace, will see it a little differently. For us, the appearance of spam messages with a genuine name, attached to a real (and reputable) company email, feels like our greyhound finally caught the hare after half a million circuits.

Reports flew up on several blogs (I found it on Digg or Reddit or someplace). Angry voices were heard. The spammer himself got a case of buyers remorse and vainly tried to use the Microsoft email recall feature to put the cat back in the bag.

The list of technical ignorance and incompetencies displayed in the execution of this sad enterprise is staggering. Consider the following gems:

  • He spammed. You just don't spam. That's a golden rule in proper netiquette. It's at the top of the ten web commandments. Everyone knows it because everyone hates spam. You permanently damage the image of your company and its relationship with clients.
  • He harvested addresses online. That's disgusting. Signing other people up to your puff piece commercial propaganda shout outs without their knowledge? What kind of troll does that?
  • He included all the addresses in the CC: field. Dude, at least learn to use the BCC: field to hide them, even the most evil spammers know enough to do that!! So now the stolen addresses are floating around in a neat group ready for endless FWDs and REPLY TO ALLs. Ugh!
  • The email is poorly written and contains awful phrases like: 'I would love to make an appointment with you' and 'I have just come across your company information and I wanted to introduce my self to you.' Not to mention the utterly galling 'Please accept my apologies if you recieved [sic] this Email in error.' But YOU sent us the email! How could we receive it in error?
  • The lame spammer tries to use the recall mechanism on his Microsoft Exchange Server company intranet. It's for internal use–internal!

With all this going on, I mused that the John Burns (at least he has a generic name) mentioned in the email was maybe a little new to the Interwebs and that he would soon perhaps find himself scanning his employers site for management positions in the fast-food franchise business.

I was very surprised to learn that he was now telephoning Blog owners who had reported the spamming offense (monster could be fined heavily for it, at €3,000 per head) to petulantly demand on threat of legal action that they remove his information (the very information the email was advertising) from public view! More gall.

I had felt sorry for the chap, the internet is an unforgiving pirhana pool, but judging by his remarks, he obviously had no idea of the consequences or implications of his own actions, if indeed he was the responsible party. Even if, as he claimed, someone else had sent the emails, transferring aggression to the other victimised parties of this sordid affair is guaranteed to be counter-productive. You'll never get the toothpaste back in the tube.

In the heel of the hunt, the calmer heads at monster.ie prevailed, and apologies were made, assurances were given, and explanations were proffered, whereby the culprit was revealed as an over-zealous new recruit–quite believable really, given his inelegant modus operandus–and now all is quiet once more.

However, my thirst for scandal won't be satisfied until the excitable Mr. Burns (if that is his real name) finally admits to peddling Viagra and penis enlargements in his spare time. 'Is that really you, Brutale Videosexaction…?'

And for connoisseurs, here is a mildly humorous remix of the impetuous voicemail.