I honestly want to know

Everybody talks about spam, and no one can do anything about it. There’s no need for me to rail against it here. Spam is bad, okay, but I honestly want to know, what do they want from me, these people who send me email that is not just unsolicited, but completely meaningless? I’m puzzled how some of these messages could be of use to anybody.

Under the subject line “Don’t Disappoint Her Ever Again” (heh-heh, if you know what I mean) I received the following email, which I will reproduce here in its entirety in the name of scientific rigor.

xqhxkugabi xqhxbikqkkyl xqhxmzeyahu xqhxjxmxuks xqhxbgjsfunyzg xqhxlbjdtiyg xqhxgfljmlxqhxcswibcbenv xqhxwob xqhxujlh xqhxxuhnb xqhxsfgnriyg xqhxhyfthr xqhxjnwxqhxnnpusxgfz xqhxseihi xqhxkgxdsgia xqhxcayfgm xqhxrn xqhxgfyxhbk xqhxvpwdxkxqhxxf xqhxgfz xqhxtvkwqmx xqhxanfw xqhxnyfwqa xqhxotzsy xqhxfeakxqhxftphfamit xqhxxnpjtox xqhxla xqhxce xqhxjneaantz xqhxdrghtxqhxrmnrot xqhxnzpqdkukub xqhxvbvgwidi xqhxrgatovr xqhxpvqcee xqhxaovqbdds xqhxwuivtqrnxqhxshk xqhxvhmujrctsj xqhxdhzd xqhxeyy xqhxprvf xqhxdlcpbxqhxhl xqhxovzlunbg xqhxhyzf xqhxky xqhxriwbeaz xqhxpplluk xqhxfrj xqhxzxyigs xqhxuk xqhxblldvqpe xqhxmxlx xqhxxkefjlr xqhxfughivjlppxqhxbzmuaaxnc xqhxolt xqhxpjhtjh xqhxbbehgot xqhxzqtqwy xqhxkjywswnkxqhxwuvkhvrmm xqhxraipzifpa xqhxcliky xqhxbiunlyrfm xqhxwnisdlfza

There were no links, no offers, no products being sold, at least by the time it reached me in this mangled state. Obviously something got lost along the way, but where? I get tons of email like this, and it mystifies me. I can guess they want me to buy Viagra or something like that, but from where? From whom? Maybe this is some kind of transliterated Chinese, but why is the subject line in English? Does anybody know?

8 thoughts on “I honestly want to know”

  1. I get a lot of strange stuff, too. A while ago I got spam that had the subject “klarr…” and the only thing in the body was “komme doch erst morgen”. Google translates this from the German as “come nevertheless only tomorrow”. Weird.

  2. The spam is very clearly meant for the average Internet user. You know the type: a single male who wants to enlarge his penis to impress hot teens while he lounges in his home, the same home which he’d like to refinance so that he can begin working on a successful home-based business. He’s also charitable, ocassionally helping people in third-world countries transfer millions of dollars for a small fee.

    Doesn’t fit you? Don’t worry about it – just e-mail them back, and they’ll take you off their list ;)

  3. In the example that I posted initially every single “word” begins with xqhx. I actually did a little research to figure out the significance of xqhx, but with no luck. And only just tonight I got an email that begins “qwkxtugguth qwlm qwlyapufkcy qwxtyqefz…” Every word starts with qw. Who can decode these messages? It shouldn’t be that hard. But I have a sneaking suspicion that under the guise of peddling Viagra, something more nefarious is going on. We’re being tested, prodded by a higher intelligence. And when the revolution comes, all will be made klarr. Er… I mean clear. Klaatu, Barada, Nikto! Huzzah!

  4. I wonder if viewing the e-mail with some type of language filter on would make the thing more legible. I think the MS e-mail readers let you select a different language set, right? The Netscape one too, maybe. Perhaps that would shed some light on this.

    Now you’ve got me curious; maybe we’ll find something interesting.. I feel like we’re in the movie Contact ;)

  5. This is to address Matthew’s comment:

    Google’s translator is no better than babelfish; for some translating fun, try “Lost in Translation”

    http://www.tashian.com/multibabel/

    Komme is German for “(I) come”
    doch is an interjection
    erst also means “first”, as in “first thing”
    Morgen means “this morning” when capitalized.

    It sounds like another Nigerian banking scam to me…

  6. Newsflash! I just got a message that begins “rbvbhqojnk rbvbhqjuhtciryda rbvbhqaclugqnmqc rbvbhqyxhqix rbvbhqtpytrmvz rbvbhqqqocrn rbvbhqzxsvvdrbvbhqfs…” It goes on for a while like this. So let’s review: First a message full of XQHX words. Then one full of QW words. Then finally this one with RBVBHQ words. What can it mean? Damn! If this were only a Hardy Boys book I’m sure it would lead us straight to the mystery of the Shrieking Siren.

  7. I thought maybe these were ROT-13’ed, but unfortunatly “KDUK” is no more illuminating than “XQHX” and “EOIOUD” says no more to me than “RBVBHQ”. Although I guess, with more vowels, they are at least marginally pronounceable.

  8. Could it be that this gibberish, which looks like a secret message, is actually a secret message? Farfetched, I suppose, but imagine you wanted to send an encrypted message to someone and ensure, above all, that the identity of the recipient not be known. Perhaps you suspect that your outgoing mail is being read, etc. So you start sending spam messages to 10,000 recipients. One of those recipients knows that one of those messages, say one filled with RBVBHQs, contains the information he’s been waiting for….

    Nah, that’s way too interesting. Chances are there’s just a bug in some spammer’s mass mail program. Like the bug in my POP reader that causes mail to print out in mysterious mirror writing. (Unless that’s really a secret sign?)

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