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Head-Body-Legs of Spam

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The Head-Body-Legs of Spam

2013.01.27

Scan-book-001.jpg For the last months, have been surrounded by email spam. I began looking at it beyond the normal: "junk mail, get rid of it", and started investigating the narratives descried in them. The fact that a narrative is created in order to extort money from others just seems hilarious. It is literature put at the service of frauds.

In order allow this research to develop, I created a archive for spam emails. Although still in development, this is where it lives: http://pzwart3.wdka.hro.nl/django/acastro/collect_spam/spam/

Amassing a certain amount of unsolicited emails allowed me to see a that there are a few common threads running through them, specially in case of the Spanish Prisoner or 419 scams. One of the most striking common element is the structure these emails possess. They seem to follow the same structural organization, devised into the following formula:
salutation exposition of the sender's situation introduction to who the sender is contextualization of why he or she needs the recipient's help argumentation as to why the recipient should help establishment of a bond with the recipient the reward, if the recipient cooperates farewell

In writing the spam messages, spammers seem to follow this structure, adding variables into its slots. And even within this structure there seems to be other substructures that repeat themselves, according to the chosen variables. Say the "writer" happens to be a woman. Either she will be:
a) A rich widow, sick and asking for help to put her funds into charity;
b) An America female soldier in Iraq of Afghanistan that comes across a large sum of money (the same plot is very common with a male protagonist);
c) A seductive woman trying to entice a male receiver. (In this case, money is rarely mentioned on a first contact. Seduction rather than an appeal to the recipient's greed is used in this plot );
But an analysis of this inner structure requires more investigation, and this isn't the space or time for it.

So on a macro structural level I wanted to test if by changing its constituting elements, the spam messages would still hold themselves together, and remain understandable. In order to do so I create a head-body-legs book, with several spam messages, divided into this macro-structural elements. Here are some images of the res

Scan-book-002.jpg Scan-book-003.jpg


2013_01_27 Blog

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