I occasionally post things I've written that have amused other people, but today I'm going to share something Betsy Aoki wrote that amused me. On one of our internal mailing lists, somebody wondered why we don't use email spam filters to attack comment spam and trackback spam. My point was that the goal of email spam is very different from the goals of comment spam and trackback spam:

  • Email spam is about tricking the recipient into reading your message.
  • Comment spam is about tricking search engines into giving a higher ranking to the pages you link to.
  • Trackback spam is about stealing somebody else's content and republishing it, with the intent of driving traffic to your fake site and generate advertising revenue.

I concluded with the remark, "I am not aware of any email spam that takes messages that I wrote and forwards them back to me."

Betsy replied, "I encounter this all the time. It's called working at Microsoft."