My recent venture into my blog drafts folder (and subsequent discovery of a couple of diamonds in the rough) got me curious about my spam folder, something else I never look at. Classic case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Today’s email filters have gotten so good, the only time I ever think of spam is when I’m craving breakfast meat in a can. There were only four spammy comments in my WordPress folder, all of them from people wanting to sell me amoxycillin without a prescription. I don’t currently have any bacterial infections that I am aware of, so those guys were barking up the wrong tree.
Also, what a lame “black market” drug to push. Back in the day, spammers at least had the balls to try and sell things like viagra or Vicodin, or get you to visit their porn sites. They’ve apparently all turned into a bunch of snowflakes now. I almost long for the days when I would open up my email and discover I had a huge Nigerian inheritance waiting for me; all I had to do was send them my banking information and the money would be deposited into my account within 24 hours.
At least it brought a little excitement into an otherwise humdrum day.
The only thing worse than receiving spam was having one of your perfectly innocent outgoing emails flagged as spam. This happened to me at work a few years ago. I was alerted to the fact by one of our web guys, who informed me that an email blast I had tried sending had been flagged and wound up in the company spam folder. He sent a rather lengthy (and somewhat condescending) explanation stating that “the subject and content of your message determines your spam score” and chided me for using “sexualized content” and “spammy phrases.” I was outraged over this insinuation. I am many things, but a pervert is not one of them! Not at work, anyway.
More than anything, I was confused. I had no idea why my email promoting an upcoming member symposium in Austin could even remotely be construed as spam, even by a robot…
…until I saw the list of offending words and phrases, which included the following:
And, my personal favorite, “square feet.” Jesus. Don’t judge a man by his fetish!
Actually, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud after reading the list. Because, as loathe as I am to admit it, reading that does make me seem like some sort of freak. But it’s taken out of context! Because “everything is bigger in Texas!” Including the ballroom (I’m surprised “ball room” wasn’t flagged), with a “touch” of class where you’ll be able to relax and “enjoy yourself” in 60,000 “square feet” of space. Finally, the email included a link to a “video” that I implored recipients to “watch now.”
See? It’s all easily explained. And yet, I was automatically branded as some sort of miscreant with a one-track mind.
Almost exactly one year later, I quit that job and moved 1,200 miles away. Ostensibly for a better life, but maybe I was just trying escape my wounded reputation?