do these guys think we are idiots or what?

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 1 03:48:52 UTC 2010

I have a different question--when did viruses become spam? Once upon a
time, there were three kinds of problems with email--spam (unsolicited
offers, which may have been real offers or get-rich-quick schemes,
boiler-room schemes, etc.), "infections" (virus- or worm-infected mail),
and phishing (offers not only unsolicited but too good to be true,
which, of course, they were--usually intended for the recipient to give
up secure information). This was some time after phishing became a
separate category but before we started calling everything "junk mail".
In common use, there was rarely a difference between viruses and worms,
but, otherwise, the three groups were distinct. Now "junk mail" and
"spam" are nearly synonymous and include all three categories. Did
anyone notice that?

The Hallmark Greeting "spam" is actually a virus. There is somewhat of a
blend technique here, as the message invites you to do something to
cause a problem on your end. But it is not "phishing" because it does
not ask you for personal information, it just invades your computer upon
one careless click. Spam, unless you actually choose to spend money on
worthless products is a nuisance, but otherwise harmless. Phishing scams
have many subdivisions, including the "Nigerian letter scam", but the
most common ones for a while now have been fake credit card and bank (or
ebay or paypal) messages telling you that your account has been
compromised and you have to change you password or add security
information (even if you don't have an account with that particular
bank). Infections usually have attached files, phishing messages have
overlayered links and original spam is just bullshit, but often have
links now to the supposed sale sites. So, technically, the distinction
is quite clear. There are version of these for social networks and some
infections no longer need a click to infect your computer, but,
otherwise, the distinctions have been stable for a long time.

Yet, in popular view, these are all spam now.


On 3/31/2010 10:36 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> Why are e-cards spam? Are greeting cards junk mail? Or just when misspelled?
> DanG

The American Dialect Society -

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