August 25, 2006

That only makes eleven (plus one mislaid) and not fourteen, unless wizards count differently to other people. But now please get on with the tale. Recently (sometime between May and July depending on who you ask) people started receiving spam messages that slipped by filters by containing random bits of prose from the works of JRR Tolkien. Dubbed "hobbit spam," these emails contained nothing else- no links, no images, no advertisements of any kind.

Two possible theories have been put forward to explain the spammer's motivation. It could be an attempt to find active email addresses by circumventing the spam filters- the spammer would then send actual ads to these addresses (link to unsourced radionews site/blog). Or it's an inept script kiddie who doesn't know how to use his spam suite- this theory is supported by messages which came later and contained the hobbit text overlaid with image files (link to unsourced wikipedia snippet). I've never received hobbit spam, but I did get one this morning with a good-sized chunk of Growing Pains (full text) by Henry Handel Richardson, a book which is so famous it is listed on neither amazon nor the author's wikipedia page.

  • Are ur f33t to small to please ur lady? Get big hairy ones with PROUDFOOT'S ENLARGER. size improvement instantly!!1!!
  • Every time you click on this thread, Bill Gates will send a nickel to the starving children in Alabama.
  • How many typewriters will it take before some monkey types in the obvious answer?
  • Can we choose a thread winner yet?
  • Call out Gouranga be happy Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga! That which brings the highest happiness
  • NOW How much would you pay?!?!
  • See also article and discussion at slashdot about this phenomenon.
  • Problems pleasing your elf-maid?? Keep it up for centuries with ELROND'S HERBAL OINTMENT!! Going strong since the First Age. "Totally fixed my Sword That Was Broken!" --A. Elessar, Minas Tirith
  • Make $$$ At Home !!FREE!! Palantir included Contact:
  • My name is Mr. Raci Fidelis, I was the House Manager and personal Assistance to late Mr. Es El Queso Jr, a national of your country who died along with his wife and his two sons in a ghastly motor accident along Eastern Cape-Johannesburg express way in August 13, 1999, in which all the occupants in the vehicle lost their lives. I am sending you this message asking for your cooperation for our both benefit.
  • *stuffs tear-stained check into an envelope*
  • I think I've received some L.M. Montgomery spam - I just need to go find the book in question and check, but what other text would have someone named Pat talking about "Silver Bush"? Oh dear. I don't actually want to know. Clearly it's about a lovely PEI farm.