Friday, 28 September 2007

What is it with spammers? (repost from other blog)

Am I missing something here?

I get lots of spam. Most of it is efficiently filtered out by Gmail, but nonetheless I do check it regularly, just in case some false positives get caught.

But I'm at a loss to understand what the spammers are hoping to achieve. They appear to go to great lengths to defeat my spam filters. Why? Do they think I'll reward their ingenuity by buying stuff I don't need? Don't they realise why I have spam filters? Because I don't want their stuff!

Here's my advice. I offer it free, gratis, and for nothing.

Make your subject header actually relevant to the content of your email. Don't use obfuscation in the body of the email (such as peculiar graphics, or unconventional spelling). Use an honest email address.

This way I can easily trash your email if it's not relevant to me, my wants or needs. But it also makes it easy for me to identify if I may actually desire to do business with you - because your email will not have been consigned to my junk folder.

You never know - you might actually get more business this way.

Denial in action: "Acupuncture works"

A recent report (see Bad Science for full details) shows that acupuncture is no more effective than a placebo. This, however, didn't prevent a representative of 'complementary' medicine claiming that the report showed that acupuncture 'works'.

Nothing much unusual here, you might suppose. But David Tredinnick made his claims in the face of the placebo evidence, on BBC radio. Ben Goldacre related the facts of the case to Eddie Mair, on the BBC's PM programme, and David Tredinnick completely ignored the central point of the report - that acupuncture is a load of hooey.

Audio of the PM programme here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/pm_tue
Clip starts at about 37 minutes. (This link will probably expire by next Tuesday.)

Download RealPlayer here

Edit: Ben Goldacre's Bad Science podcast now has the clip available for download (also includes some of the mail responses to the broadcast):
http://badscience.net/files/whydoctorsdonttalktothemedia.mp3
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