Dicks are decimated! (OK, OK, reduced by two thirds, which is actually worse than decimation.)
I was wrong...Crikey! This is what I get for taking my eye off the er..balls...(it's been a year since my last spam survey) and the number of come-ons associated with erectile dysfunction is sadly drooping. Indeed it no longer form the largest category in my spam filter! For shame! Come on dicks!
Anyway, I was right in the obvious prediction that the coming - now continuing - hard times would produce exciting new categories of spam especially those associated with financial difficulties. Indeed, the winner this year (taking over from Viagra previously at 11%) is the new category of cheap, easy loans, also at 11%. As if the public hadn't already gorged itself on too much credit. A sad note is that many of these 'loans' are aimed at veterans who are apparently perceived to be the new stupid or desperate poor.
Associated is another category of credit and bankruptcy fixing at 4% this year, a little down from last year's 5%. This includes a ingenious twist: proposing to tell us who is doing background/credit checks on us.
Another shocker - posh watches are at the low, low level of 1% of spam down from 6% last year! Their place as desirable consumer commodities has apparently been taken by cut-price iPads, MacBooks, Dysons and Kindles (5%). Yes I know, the Dyson is a vacuum cleaner, but it is as excessively overpriced as the others and hence appears desirable. I do know people who collect fancy watches. It's like stamp collecting. You kind of keep buying them and then you sort of...just, have them, right?* Whereas iPads, Kindles and Dysons have more practical uses of viewing your pr0n collection or vacuuming up the cat hair covering your carpets.
The biggest single subjects of spam over the last ten years, ED and fancy timepieces, are just fading away. In all the number of categories is up 6% to 53 from 50 last year. More fragmentation. Considering that email as an application has been practically killed by spam (although mobile apps are the biggest nail in the coffin), I hope the senders are choking on piles of fake Cartiers. As if.
Now all this could be relative to the recipient. I have told Facebook that I am 92-year old female and I now get 'old lady'-related spam. They've given up pushing the incontinence products, thank goodness, but the seniors homes, home care, seniors' dating sites and electric scooters are all on offer, amounting to 6% of total. Thanks fb.
A new category, purports to be from lawyers who are trawling for business in class actions against drug companies, including the Nuvaring which is a contraceptive I didn't know before. (It's an education doing this job). This amount to 4% of my spam - implying the senders think there are many people who would be prepared to lie to a jury. Why not? People are clearly happy to help cheaters cheat, and think they will not be cheated themselves.
As an illustration, one of the old favorites, the venerable advance fee (Nigeria 419) scam has emerged from the mists of time with a spam email, purporting to be from a Capt. Anita George US Army. This poor woman was forced to bury just truckloads of American cash in Iraq in her hurry to leave. Now, finding herself a bit short of ready money she is appealing to you (You!) to help her repatriate the poor mistreated MIA currency with the promise of an ill-gotten share for you as well...She is somewhat more fluent than the proverbial African princes of old, though.
The categories related to financial distress (FD) amount to 61%. I would claim that most get-rich-and/or-educated-quick schemes and crazy discounts fall in this area.
Anyway, with no further ado, here is the full list:
11% Cheap/payday/military loans - one promising offering: "Quick relief from financial aches and pains". FD.
7% Famous (often misspelled) U.S. store brands at cut prices. Would like to claim this for FD, the usual urge for thrift while still owning enviable stuff.
6% Dating for seniors, facebook users and one, poetically titled, 'Love can be yours'
5% Cheap iPads, MacBooks, Dysons, Kindles. This has gotta be FD.
5% Senior Care. Get granny out of the house!
- Cheap car insurance. FD.
- Nuvaring/heart surgery drug/other drug injury attorney. FD.
- Erectile dysfunction. Sad days indeed when men cannot be relied upon to worry about their lacklustre willies!
- Universities of Nowhere offering useful sounding courses, including special "GI benefits". FD.
- Credit rating/background check. FD.
- Craft supplies - omg, will it never stop? The goddamned quilting, knitting, crocheting, crafty spam. Spawn of Satan! Not FD, unless you think knitting your own socks is a Sign of the Greater Depression forthcoming.
- AARP membership. Might be legit in light of my admitted age on fb. However, I am not American. Yankee go home.
- Did you know your home is at risk? I assume they mean of foreclosure not lightning, UFOs or meteorites. FD.
- Take survey for money. They don't pay more than about $2 an hour (and they don't often pay up) so I assume this is FD.
- Men's Big & Tall Apparel. Nothing to see here. I'm not a man and I'm not big and tall. Well I may be big.
- Lint lizard clean your vents - the day I get a reptile in my dryer vent is the day I live a long way south of the snowline. Nice idea though.
- Car warranty - as I previously remarked, the car is man's best friend, and you want to ensure the health of your best friend don't you?
- Credit cards - OK this is FD. Anyone who hasn't got enough credit cards is probably already bankrupt.
- YouCalendar 2 please click not Spam. Hmm? No. Get lost.
- Cheap life insurance - curious category. Probably from the WNPU Insurance Company Inc.** FD.
- 1 step acne treatment - probably aimed at teenagers. Very little spam is, because teens these days have better things to do that use email.
- Low cost health insurance "Amazing coverage starting at $99/mth." $1200 per year is not "low cost". Seems this is for 'mericans. Get lost you sick bastards! Everyone in Ontario pays $750 per year for full coverage. You in the U.S are being gouged. FD
- Train to be a massage therapist/xray tech. FD. Similar to University of Nowhere.
- Posh watches - the mighty are fallen.
- Airline tickets - right...give me something for nothing...again.
- A hapless friend has her email list stolen and I get spam. You know who you are.
- Norton Anti-Virus - are these guys still in business? Crikey. Perhaps my friend above should use one.
- 'Sneaky' Golf trick to add 30+ yards. At first I thought this was an innuendo-laden ED missive. Shame on me. I am a sick bastard.
- Grocery coupons. Target: poor buggers on food stamps, imo. FD.
- from FBI - Important message (from fbi.gov) Crikey! They're telling me about spam!
- The Economist $1 an issue - Oh right...
- Cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals. Look, I live in Canada. I get my pharmaceuticals at prices way cheaper than yours. Call your Congressperson. FD.
- Casino gambling - if you're too lazy to get off the couch and go to the casino, you're going to lose all your money, for certain.
- Blast your belly fat - nah, sounds too painful. I'd rather caress it lovingly until it flees in horror.
- Fresh home mag - lame. I don't buy "reno and lifestyle" mags, unlike pretty well every other woman I know. I can't abide looking at pictures of rich people's homes which are universally free of scum, cat excrescences, pet and human hair and general untidiness.
- Learn a foreign language in 10 days...and I have a waterfront lot in Florida to show you.
- Grants to help you pay for college...Free money! We're giving it away because we're crazy! I shouldn't be so scathing. The desire to be educated is confused with the desire to be rich (i.e. employed) and the difficulty that many have in getting a good education is shameful. Didn't you realize that compulsory education was the main publicly-funded social program that allows upwards social mobility? And you still screwed around in high school! So did I. FD.
- Travel clothing. Not sure why anyone would think I'd be compelled to buy overpriced polyester garments that make one stand out as a wealthy foreigner, only lacking a pith helmet to look like a total fool. I just stuff in jeans and tee-shirts like everyone else.
- Penny auction site. Selling other people's distressed property. FD.
- Foreclosures. Selling other people's distressed property. FD.
- Elder products scooter. Now this I think is a fine idea.
- Congressman Tom Rooney State of the Union - what do you think? Yankee go home. Please do not bomb my country. You mad bastards.
- Cheap used cars. FD.
- Michael Feilds Gift Shop. (sic) I guess the poor person that typed this email thought they were home free when the had overcome the atypical spelling of 'Michael' and just plain forgot the "i before e" rule.
- The Genie Bra. I dream of Genie. Oh just stop it.
- Academic Association. Unique invite with badly formatted letter saying you're a god to some unspecified academic world as recognized by peers. You're not.
- Webby Awards - possible false positive.
- Replacement pieces - what is this?
- Need roof replaced? Not at present dear, but call me in 10 years.
- Job offer - Yes, you're going to give a couch potato a job for just clicking on a spam email link. Good. FD.
- Capt, Anita George Iraq Money - Crikey! Just like old times. FD.
* Stolen Joke Alert! Dave Barry, prop.
**The We Never Pay Up Insurance Company Inc. Represented by the law firm of Sue, Grabbit and Runne (Stolen Joke Alert!)