Return to Sender

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I maintain several email accounts.  There is the one I give to my friends, the one I give to the people I hate (have fun determining which one you have), and one I use for online shopping, etc.  The reason I maintain a separate account for shopping and other random online activities is to protect my main account from waves of SPAM or other unsolicited offers.  The mail system I use for my shopping account does a fairly good job at segregating the SPAM into a junk folder, but every so often I sift through the rubble to see if I missed anything that was actually meant for me.

Here is today’s review:

1)  Three messages from national, name-brand stores I have done business with whose mass emails have triggered the SPAM protocol.  As a career marketer, I have sympathy for these.  From experience I know a marketing manager, through no fault of his own, is being fired because the click-through rate on that last email campaign was 0.00001%.  Every marketer knows that a successful email campaigns yields at least 0.00002%.

2)  Four emails offering me a way to find a quick date or rapid “hook-up”.  These are SPAM defined.  I’m faithfully married, but even if I wasn’t, I’m at the age where an offer of a random hook-up on the same night I have Nuggets tickets just isn’t as interesting of an option as it once was.  In the off chance I decide to re-gift the tickets, I’m staying home to watch the game in HD anyway.  Even the most fundamental targeting strategy should have excluded me from those campaigns for at least half a dozen reasons.

3)  Two emails offering penile enlargement products.  These are either SPAM or incredibly well targeted campaigns.  There is a chance this vendor has really done some impressive homework on me, but unless my wife has been sharing way too much information in the phone surveys we get, I’m leaning towards SPAM.

4)  One email offering to fix the problems with my golf swing.  Like penile enlargement, this could go either way.  But as I have four year old triplets, the odds I’ll find the time to play golf any time soon are slim.  Years down the road,  I’ll probably open this one, and somewhere a marketer will yell in excitement that he “finally got the bastard”, and groundkeepers who spend too much of their budget on course repair will rejoice.

5)  One email asking me to help a person transfer several million dollars from some foreign country like Ghana.  All I need to do is provide my checking account number, my PIN number, my social security number, my home address, the name of my high school mascot, the city of my birth, the model of my first car, the name of my favorite pet, and my mother’s maiden name.  If I do that, half of some fortune no one will miss is magically mine.  This fraud strategy was first deployed less than two days after Al Gore invented the internet, and I can’t believe it’s still a money maker.  This is definitely SPAM.  I’m a writer, so I have no savings worth stealing.  In fact, people living in rural Sierra Leone should be sending money to me.

When I reflect in this, I have to note the irony that on some days I get as much humor out reading my SPAM than I do from reading my actual email.  Despite its questionable content, I’ll still peruse it on a semi-regular basis just for the laugh.  But one of these days,  I’ll take some of those junk emails up on their offers and become the next Tiger Woods in more way than one.

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