You can’t go a second on the internet these days without coming across scammers, spammers, clickbait and malvertisements. If you haven’t discovered browser plugins like Adblocker, or you simply just accidentally clicked on an ad on the sidebar of the website you’re perusing—you may have seen this side of the ‘net. Liking and reacting to meme and celebrity pages on Facebook leads to the same insidiousness. However, the most insidious of these are those that appear in your email’s Junk folder. You may just think it’s full of Nigerian scammers asking for you to wire them money or “pharmacists” as fake as YourMexicanDoctor.com from Grand Theft Auto, but the junk folder is a minefield of entertainment. Granted you don’t click on any of their links!
A few years ago, I used to visit a site called SlushpileHell that critiqued terrible query letters to literary agents. The anonymous literary agent made snarky analyses and comments about the various aspiring authors and their entertaining, cringeworthy manuscripts. While the site has been inactive for a few years, I thought I would emulate the style of SlushpileHell by critiquing a few of the—what else can I say?—humorous junk emails that I receive.
First of all, let’s check out my junk folder. Most of it seems pretty boring and unassuming, right?
Wait, what’s that—a Clementine Ford Service? I reviewed Clementine Ford’s book Fight Like a Girl back in January, so it’s pretty interesting that these spammers want me to sign up to a Facebook-esque service (given the second link) all about Australia’s #1 radical feminist. But what she has to do with french fries leaves me baffled.
Signing up to the CLEMENTINE FORD service contains a few interesting quirks, namely vounchers for appraisals of pinned tweets, installing Australian writing prizes, and 50 off accessories and garments on something that is distinctly not an accessory or garment. What is it 50 off? 50 human souls? 50 glasses of vodka and orange juice? 50 Donald Trump toupees? Best wish to you too, anonymous Russian scammer, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.
Next off, we scroll down to Memes Service, which is more of the same copy-paste as the previous email, albeit with a few interesting specials:
At least this time Mr. Terhune-the-Russian-scammer was bit more humorous. Maybe they should stick to writing comedies instead of serious links some sad sack will accidentally click on. I get it, I get it, I’ve spent far more time that I should have looking at the Gordon Ramsay “it’s just a sosig” memes, but I question how I can get a market appraisal? If by “market appraisal”, they mean Ramsay will shout that the sosig is too f**ing soggy, maybe I could understand. I can’t snicker at the first one—it’s only a matter of time before Italian Hand Gesture has bootleg paraphernalia up on eBay, Amazon and the $2 shop, because there most certainly will. Overall, more entertaining than the first one, but still an F for me. Maybe next time.
Not even one ounce of effort! Unlike Mr [insert-random-search-term] Service, the Viagra-Cialis people put absolutely all of 0% of effort into their message. Just “Click on this reliable safe link which is absolutely not safe”. Boring. F-.
Scrolling down, “Canadian Pharmacy” is more of the same, not even worth clicking on the link. If these were actually query letters, the YourMexicanDoctor scammers wouldn’t even be getting an F for effort. At least the Services provide entertainment. Turns out they weren’t always like this. Take an old email I received from them:
SlushpileHell—and every other query letter how-to—tells me that you need to start your query letter by referring to the agent or publisher by their correct name. I have no idea who Simon is, but these original spams also sent me spam addressed to, respectively, as Emily, Bethany, a Post Office csutomer, and even by a friend’s middle name. Considering I don’t even have a Tinder account, it’s amazing I have unchecked messages to view through the “special link”. At least you’ve been using “special link” from the beginning. Some things never change. Alas, a clear fail to you too.
At least they put some effort into pretending I had an account—in that case, Tinder. Sometimes they simply forget. Unfortunately, %searchdata% account has lost a potential member. Or is it %serchdata% without the “a”, I never remember. Whoops.
In the end, 100[%] of these emails failed. While they provide some passing entertainment, anyone with a cursory knowledge of the English language should not be fooled by these. Unfortunately, many people are fooled by this trash everyday, so hopefully this blog post has helped some of you out there in the blogosphere and around the world. If not, the situation is truly dire.