I’m just getting back into the office after having taken a long, boring drive from Kansas City to Boulder, Colorado. Without realizing it, as I was slogging along I-70, my mailbox was filling up with more than its usual dose of spam, unsolicited commercial email, junk, cr*p, etc etc.
Nothing unusual, really, but as I’m operating right now on a cylinder or two short of my usual, I sat and looked at a bunch of the spam, just out of some perverse sense of curiosity.
Here’s what I want to know: does anyone actually buy prescription drugs or stocks based on these commercial messages?
Actually, I have long concluded that if anyone really does buy a prescription drug – or any drug – from a company that can’t even spell the name of the drug properly [I know, I know, it’s to sidestep crude spam filters] then they probably deserve whatever concocted junk they get.
There’s also an interesting sort of “self-fulfilling prophecy” syndrome that happens as you glance through a wave of spam too, where you tune out the offers that don’t apply to you (really, I don’t need larger breasts) and then perhaps wonder why you’re getting more messages related to a problem you do perceive you have, be it weight loss, hair loss, or some other sort of loss or gain.
In a way, it’s kind of like horoscopes: you ignore what doesn’t apply and are then astonished how the most vague of predictions can be interpreted as being spot-on for your day.
But I digress. 🙂
Here are some of the fifty or more stock-related spam message subjects I received, along with my commentary:
- Are shares of this issue poised for a run? Depends on whether you can get people to open this message and act upon whatever nonsense you have written inside, I imagine!
- Do you like penny stocks? Actually, I have been heavily invested in companies that were ‘pink sheet’ penny stocks and no, I really don’t like penny stocks and prefer to invest in more reputable and legitimate companies. But thanks for asking.
- Strong buy! stock I am! skeptical if you can’t even figure out how to use! common punctuation.
- Under the wire investor update Which might be relevant if I was some sort of “under the wire” investor, but since the only wires I can imagine apply here are either a newswire or the “end of a stock trading day” wire, you probably need to figure this one out for yourself.
- Christian investment tip I love these sort of messages. Do Christians invest differently to Hindus or Jews? And if I’m not Christian, can I take advantage of this tip anyway?
- Take a look at this microcap Uh, no thanks. In my book microcap = we are too darn small to have a real market capitalization (which is stock issued * stock price) so we invented a new term to explain why our actual capitalization is insufficient to buy a new Volvo. Doesn’t sound like a winner in the investment category.
- Stellar stock market standout? Wait. You need to ask me if this company is a standout or not? I think you forgot to read the memo entitled “Be Confident In The Company You Promote” or something. Not good.
- Trading alert for China Datacom Corporation (CDP) Ah, someone bold enough to actually list the company name in the subject of the message. That’s good. But digging around a bit in Google and Yahoo Finance reveals that this might not be a hot investment after all, as they’re a “pink sheet” (aka microcap, aka penny stock) and their Web site’s blank: http://www.3gcity.cn/ which doesn’t help me figure out what they’re doing!
Bah, I think that I’ll stick with my more traditional methods of figuring out up and coming new firms: analyze the market and its trends for myself.
How about you? Have you ever succumbed to investment advice from unknown third parties who send you upbeat email tips?
We recently had a new, highly focused twist on the spam game. The con artist selected a 500K+ Property on my real estate site in the Holiday Neighborhood, and sent us an inquiring email (linked to the property). He wrote that he was a Colonel in the army and because things were “getting bad” he wanted to buy the condo and move himself and his family from the Ivory Coast immediately.
Suspecting a scam, we decided to play along anyway and sent him back an email outlining the process and inquiring when he might be here to see the property. He wrote back that he wouldn’t be coming because he was so busy, but he wanted to buy the house sight unseen. Would we fly down to the Ivory Coast to meet with him?
A few hours after receiving the email, the Colonel called (gotta love Skype). In the interim, we found the Colonel’s name on a list of commonly used scammer names. So after the phone call, we emailed him the scammer site asking if he was one and the same. Alas, just as rapidly as it began, so ended the Colonel’s interest in Boulder.
I doubt the Colonel is finished working his scam though. He’s probably using a different name and working another agent’s site. Maybe he’s even been promoted to General?
(given the length of this comment, I think I’m going to post it on my blog)
I’ve heard that 80% of all email traffic is spam. It hardly matters what the content of the email is, when so much of the traffic is bad, filters of all sorts can’t keep up.
It’s a numbers game.
If you tell millions of people a lie, some are going to believe it. If it doesn’t cost you very much in time or money to tell them, you don’t need very many of them to believe it or buy it for you to make a lot of money.
What bothers me these days, is that there is also a lot of money to be made in both allowing for, and cutting off spam. If 80% of all email traffic is spam, that translates to a lot of hardware sold, a lot of bandwidth sold, at every part of the internet to cope with the extra traffic. So ISPs, hosting companies and hardware vendors gain revenue if the problem continues. And then there’s the whole industry of filtered email providers and spam filter software, who also make money by the problem continuing.
When everyone but the consumer, is making money with the problem continuing, who is motivated to solve the problem?
Great blog here. I actually had someone with enough chutzpa to call my home. I hear the phone ring and it is someone making pretend to be calling thier friend with hot stock tips. I was infuriated. You know people are way out of line when they begin cold calling/ prank calling your home. Do you know where one can report this?
What is the future of renewable chemicals market and does IBOT.PK being into this business will lead any effect any on it????