My Spam in RSS

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I’m not sure exactly how, but at Gnomedex a goofy idea was floated. We were talking about weird RSS feeds and I mentioned a spam feed. It’s just goofy enough to be clever, and now it’s a reality. You can subscribe to a feed of the spam that I receive. The feed is a real-time hook into my IMAP server and displays the last 15 messages in the Spam folder. It’s cached for 15 minutes to keep people from hammering my mail server in the unlikely event that this becomes popular.

The feed has subjects and dates only right now, but I may play with adding the message bodies in as well at some point. I’m making some small gestures towards cleaning up the feed from a technical standpoint, but remember that this is spam and isn’t guaranteed to be well-formed. I also have no control over the content of the feed. So if you see something nasty in there, don’t complain to me about it.

Patricia
October 13, 2004 5:37 AM

How funny. We all complain so much about the spam we get daily, in email and comments and yet, despite all that, I couldn't help from clicking through to see what kind of spam you get.

Michael Moncur
October 13, 2004 9:38 AM

I wonder if there's an idea for a checksum-based spam filter using RSS as a transport in there somewhere.

Camilo
October 14, 2004 6:24 AM

Actually, your feed points to the phenomenon pointed to by Seth Godin: if you ask nicely, people will actually subscribe to the spam feed. Imagine a service such as that, a spam feed serving news (or whatever), but fully disclosing the fact that they are, in effect, low-cost indiscriminating ad servers. There, instant business model.

Chris Vance
October 16, 2004 3:24 PM

I like Michael's idea, but I don't think the checksum idea will work: if the random text used in many spams is different for each email going out, the checksum should be different. Even something like links including email address information will vary the checksum. I'm sure there are some identical emails which I sent en-masse, and those would indeed contain identical checksums. Again, cool idea, but I'm not sure it would do much good.

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