Blogger Directed Spam?

from the weird dept

Techdirt has received a couple of these emails today, and I'm wondering if it's a new spam campaign directed at bloggers. I don't want to post the full email (even with some obfuscation) because it may give away too much info about the site it's advertising (which I did not visit). The email sort of appears to be a long, rambling, legitimate, if slightly odd, attempt at asking for help in creating a "political blog". The writer asks a bunch of silly questions about blogging in general (which surfing around should teach them the answers to) and then mentions offhand, that they're also creating a weblog directory and ask specific information about "your blog". People send us email all the time asking for help or links, and they're often quite odd, but this one has quite a few spam characteristics as well. First, two small oddities: the email comes from a domain that is different than the one they're "promoting" and the name in the "from" is spelled just slightly differently than the name signed at the bottom of the email (Google turns up no links relating to either spelling of the name). However, there are a few more things that make me much more suspicious. The emails were sent to non-operational addresses at Techdirt. They both landed in our "catch-all" bin (which is mostly spam). However, both approximate legitimate Techdirt addresses (one for a former employee), but change the last letter of the address to something random. I have no idea why this would be done. Furthermore, the email ends with a random string of text, like many spam messages do these days. SpamAssassin (if you care) gives it a score of 6.7, well above the usual filter level of 5. However, since the email seems like it's at least trying to be legitimate, I'm wondering if it's a sneaky attempt by spammers/scammers to appeal to bloggers' general nature to help people out.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Kevin, Sep 9th, 2003 @ 1:36am

    No Subject Given

    I run an anti-spam service and, if anything, it has taught me one thing about spammers, never over-estimate a spammer. They are used car salesmen that learned how to barely use a computer. They do all kinds of stupid things, including sending out messages they forgot to put spam into.

    Although I'm baffled about the permutations of the once legit email address, without further information I'm inclined to think that they didnt actually know they were sending spam to a "blog", and that would remove some of the mystery. They may be merely trying to generate traffic to a link in the email.

    I'll bet you'll see in the headers this spam came from a cable modem or dsl line, the sure sign of the amateur spammer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Srijith, Sep 9th, 2003 @ 1:37am

    Got one too

    One of this landed in my catch-all inbox too. I did not go through the content, but spamassasin showed me a glimpse (enough for me to delete it). As in your case, the email address was similar, but not correct. In my case it was directed at webmaster, but there was a typo (intentional?) and it read webmagter@...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Andy, Sep 9th, 2003 @ 12:45pm


    I stopped reading when it went on about political stuff - I don't go anywhere near that on my blog so I knew it was a spam. Deleted it before I checked the email address they sent to though :-(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 9th, 2003 @ 2:24pm

    No Subject Given

    Geeks spending inordinate amounts of time reviewing spam and its origins. What the hell do you use filters for in the first place ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 9th, 2003 @ 2:31pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Geeks spending inordinate amounts of time reviewing spam and its origins. What the hell do you use filters for in the first place ?

    Well, this was a case where it was questionable as to whether or not it was spam. The hope was that, by presenting the info about it, it would alert others not to assume it was legitimate. Sorry, I didn't realize we weren't supposed to help anyone else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    biologic show, Sep 9th, 2003 @ 2:39pm


    I agree with the "never overestimate a spammer" advice. Seems like the rare spams I am fooled into opening lately are completely empty, or have just some gibberish. Weird. Sad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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