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Mmmm, Spam! - Sudden Write Turn Freelance Writing

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Mmmm, Spam!

Surprisingly short ingredient list.
Surprisingly short ingredient list.

Spam (noun) Oxford English Dictionary:
1 Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.
1.1 Unwanted or intrusive advertising on the Internet: [as modifier]: an autogenerated spam website
2 (Spam) (trademark) A canned meat product made mainly from ham.

I hate spam. Any way you slice it. While we had our first apartment, I gave in to my husband’s youthful reminisces of the novelty of fried Spam with canned pork & beans. Within a year or so I declared a pantry moratorium on Spam, having reached my lifetime limit. I also never forgot a long-ago co-worker telling me about her husband’s WWII naval experience, when his ship was disabled in the middle of the Pacific for a long period of time and all the sailors had to eat, day after day, was Spam. The poor man turned green at the thought of it even 50 years later.

Then there is internet spam. WordPress provides the nifty widget Akismet that filters spam comments preventing them from appearing on this blog. When I log in to review my stats, I can click on the spam tab to review the comments caught in the filter. Akismet has been very busy this summer. Each day the filter is catching 15-20 comments that mostly read benign and generic, while others seem composed by magnetic poetry kits or dartboard flashcards…not always English, sometimes incoherent, and often with a hint of nonsense. These are examples of the generic variety from today:

Thanks for writing such an easy-to-understand article on this topic.

Great stuff, you helped me out so much!

Well done article that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

Thanks for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate.

Extremely helpful article, please write more.

Seem nice, right? Except that commentators on WordPress are also allowed to post a link along with a screen name. The links posted with the comments above relate to erectile dysfunction drugs, hair replacement therapy, and car insurance quotes. [Insert sad trombone…WAH-waahh.]

At least the filter catches these beauties. I log in every day to delete them, and every day feel a little deflated when I see that what looks like a decent amount of website traffic over recent days is just some spammer looking for free advertising, trawling the internet and tracking muddy footprints through my site. Clever strategy, actually.

This is not a real problem, and really only a mild irritation. But I feel sad whenever I delete a batch of spam. Not just because these comments are insincere drivel, not really positive feedback for me, and in no way a metric of real people reading my blog out of real interest. Also because someone had to write them. I imagine a writer somewhere, desperate to make connections and build a portfolio, being paid a few pennies a word to compose plausible ‘comments’ that spammers can use to hit blogs and spread their link for free advertising. Sad.

All this talk about Spam and I’m starting to reconsider my pantry moratorium. I guess I’d rather eat it than delete it.

Post Script: As an experiment, I will allow spam comments that post to this blog post. Except for anything containing inappropriate language. That’s just not nice.

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