- Internet & the Web
I was surfing through the internet last night when I came upon an ad that said I could lose fifty pounds in sixty days by just using the product that they were advertising. Being intrigued by this ad, (and the fact that I could lose some weight), I clicked on it. The claims this product made were amazing. It said I could eat anything I wanted and did not have to exercise and I would lose the weight. They almost had me believing and clicking the button for the free sample, when I noticed the picture of the man that accompanied the ad. This was no normal middle aged guy. This guy was obviously a model. His body was perfect. Even his muscles had muscles. You don’t get a body like that without spending several hours a day over several years in a gym. But the people that wrote the ad were shrewd. The text of the ad mentioned nothing about looking like their model, just that you would be able to lose weight with their product.
Also, there is an old saying “if something seems too good to be true it probably is. This ad fit that old saw to a tee. While I would love to sit on the couch, drink beer and watch TV while I lose weight, I know deep inside that that is impossible. Losing weight and keeping it off requires diet, exercise, dedication and discipline. In a few minutes I came to my senses. I realized this product wasn’t for me and I resumed my web surfing.
But it got me to thinking about all the ads on the internet, especially those unsolicited spam emails I get by the hundreds. As anyone with even a passing knowledge of the internet knows these are messages sent indiscriminately by the thousands to large number of recipients. Most will not pay attention to these ads but the marketers are hoping a few people purchase their product or service. Sending these ads out in this fashion is very cost effective. The amount of spam sent grows every year. A conservative estimate by maaag.org (an email metrics company) says that about 80% of all emails are spam. Some of them have links to sites with viruses, trojans and other malware. Which is why I don’t click on these links.
My email carrier has a special mailbox it puts these in. They come in a wide variety of subjects. Some like car, health and life insurance, mortgage refinances weight loss, educational institutions and surveys aren’t very interesting, But other advertising of, shall we say, less respectable products can be amusing . While I don’t click on them, I read the titles of them before I hit the delete button. Here are some of my favorites:
Get Rich Quick Schemes
Every day there are about six or seven emails that promise exorbitant rewards for very little work. They usually read something like this: BILL , MAKE $10,000 A WEEK IN YOUR SPARE TIME or YOUR NEIGHBORS MAKE $400,000 A YEAR WORKING ONLY A FEW HOURS A WEEK. Again, if it sounds too good to be true it likely is. They are probably scams to get your information, get money from you, or put a Trojan or virus in your computer. Or, these may be pyramid schemes in which one person makes amounts like these and ten of thousands of others make just pennies.
But my favorite is the one that says BILL, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND $1,084.55 IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT TODAY? I don’t know what kind of work is involved, but at some point they are going to ask me to give them my savings account number to make the deposit. Even a 7 year old can tell that is a scam.
I’m a happily married man. I have been married nearly twenty five years. I have two sons and a dog. I have nothing against online dating. In fact I know happy couples who have met on line, but I get at least 5 or 6 spam emails a day for these services. A few of them are for mainstream dating services like match.com or eharmony., but most are for niche sites which cater to Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, Senior Citizens, Gays, Overweight People, people seeking an affair and others. Do the people who send these emails really expect me to respond to them? Do they expect me to have an affair with a woman I meet on Christian Mingle?
I actually clicked on an email earlier this year for a dating service. Let me explain. Several months ago I was briefly unemployed. I joined a social network for job seeking purposes. The network had a dating section and the email ended up in my Inbox, not the Spam box. The woman who was “seeking” me was from a town over 45 miles away, was 57 years old and wanted to share her love of opera with me! (I have never been to an opera and I don’t think it would be something I would enjoy much) I ignored the message, but a few days later another one arrived and then another. Soon I was getting 2-3 from her a week. She wanted to take me antiquing, on a picnic, to wine tastings. She told me I was just the type of guy she had been seeking all her life. (I don’t see how she knew that, I had given the social network very little information about me). I figured she didn’t exist. It was just a come on by the dating service to get me to pay. Her messages were always accompanied by a picture of a credit card and note saying that I could not meet her unless I joined the website. After a few months the emails stopped. I guess they got the message that I was not going to pay good money to join their service.
These messages come in two different varieties. First is for porn sites. I get the same one nearly every day. It says AMANDA WOULD LIKE YOU TO CHECK HER OUT ON HER WEBSITE. The name changes every day (sometimes it’s Amy, Kayla or Jayne who is doing the inviting) but it is the same message.
Other, more sleazy spams, actually try to tempt me into meeting some of these women. I get LONELY, HORNY, CHEATING HOUSEWIVES WANT TO MEET YOU! fairly often. What makes them think I want to meet them!
Some of these ads and spams tell me I can have the body of Charles Atlas while other guarantee to lower my blood pressure or cholesterol. But most want to increase my ahem….manhood in every way imaginable. Studies and experiments have proven multiple times that these substances do nothing physically. They may have a placebo effect on some men. Me? I am what I am and I’m not going to ingest foreign substances on the off chance they may work. The only people who are guaranteed to get the advantage are the people who market these things to a gullible public.
YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO RECEIVE THE NEW IPAD FREE OF CHARGE
I get spams like this often. It’s not always an iPad, sometimes it a laptop, cellphone, camera, $1000 gift card or another valuable item. Either I am the type of person people want to give things to or there is a lot more involved. Since I don’t open these emails I have no idea what it takes to get these “free” items. As I have said before, “There‘s no such thing as a free lunch” I’m sure I would have to do something. And there is no guarantee I will get the items.
Rather than being an inconvenience, these items can amuse me. There are even times where I am tempted to click an email and read it, but I don’t. My email service has a delete button which will allow me to permanently eliminate hundreds with a click of the mouse. All but one of these spams have something in common, they are aimed at things men like, money, women and free stuff. But I have been receiving one for several months. The demographics are all wrong. I will never use this product. The spam title reads: “DISCOUNT BRAs
But how did these junk emails get the name: spam? If you had asked me prior to researching this Hub, I would have guessed it was an acronym or it had something to do with the canned ham. It was neither. Well not exactly. It got it’s name from this 1970 Monty Python skit (which was a skit about the canned ham)