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AOL Releases Top 10 Spam Subject Lines
When I heard AOL was again doing their round-up of the 10 most popular subject lines, I was hoping for a little free research suggesting additional tuning for SpamButcher's email filter. It is unclear if these messages are ones reported by end-users or ones caught by automated email spam filters. The latter would seem more intuitive.
After some evaluation, the subject lines make for interesting trivia as opposed to valuable research. The individual subject lines aren't really all that common, just a fairly random sampling of a few individual messages that got seriously propagated. Also, spam is often heavily randomized, so the most successful campaigns may in fact have millions of different subjects. However, the subject lines are indicative of some general trends in unsolicited email.
Good old male enhancement spam is still around. Some kind of "patch" product has apparently hit the market, and has triggered a new round of email promoting it.
Rolex spam continues to be pervasive. Again, these particular spammers are extremely aggressive when coming up with new techniques.
Fake shipment notification spam is a fairly new trend. It creates serious problems for anti-spam systems. Many spam killer programs look for "positive" terms suggesting that an otherwise image and HTML intensive message isn't spam. Apparently spammers have caught on to this and are taking advantage of it. I wish I could claim that these don't give SpamButcher trouble, but they can.
As always, many companies seem to be giving away free Ipod's and Xbox's by the thousands. Maybe if they didn't do this, they could afford to run legal advertising campaigns as opposed to bombing people's inboxes.
Stock promotion spam fell off the radar for a while, but is now back. The idea is that the perpetrator tries to hype up some small-cap stock to get it's price up for a few days. They then sell, making dozens of dollars. The FTC cracked down on these messages a few years ago, but the profit motive appears to again to outweighing the risks involved for the senders.