I had heard of spambots. Can’t tell you where I heard it. It just has a sort of familiar ring.
However, I don’t think I had seen one at work until they hit Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension. Yes, they’re irritating, and yes, they’re a boil on the tail of the internet. But, y’know, they’re kind of funny, too.
For those not in the know (as if I am, he says, rolling his eyes), the spambot works something like this. First, it goes to a message board and registers a profile complete with name. The one that hit Jabootu (from here called Onknee for no clear reason) chose wonderful ones like “bag23” and “bird35”. With this complete, it begins posting on the board. Sometimes it will reply to existing threads. Sometimes it will even create its own thread.
The response can be as long as a sentence, a paragraph, or a novel. Somewhere there in is the hook, the link the reader is supposed to click on to. In Onknee’s case, it was usually with a single comment like “Where can I get some of that? [:-X]”. This is followed by it’s signature, which is a link to the product it’s pushing (which, needless to say, I’m not putting here.)
Now I know better. I know that a spambot is nothing more than a malicious computer program created by hateful computer programmers. Sort of like a virus or the Atari 2600 game, E.T.
And yet when I think of Onknee, I can’t get the image of an actual robot out of my head. One that’s hunched over it’s keyboard with an evil gleam in its lens/eyes. I can here it humming to itself as it finishes a post. It clicks on “Post New Reply”, leans back, and says, with infinite satisfaction, “Take that, meatbags!”
Stupid old reality.
Being just a program with no thought behind it makes the spambot susceptible to charming gaffs. The most common seems to be not posting on topic, which as a rule annoying yet passably human. Onknee had gaffs that made it look like it had lost it’s little mind. A few of it’s signatures looked like little more than three lines. Some of it’s posts were incoherent messes, like
At one point, Onknee was pushing a whole bit of wisdom. It created threads titled “Learn+Something”, “Another Chinese Saying”, “Old+Ancinet+Quotes” (nothing says wisdom like redundancy), and the grammatically frightening “Things You Didnt Knew Before.” Each would be accompanied with some truism or another. It’s point of origin or age I can’t verify.
All of this might have been mildly acceptable in the main forum. Onknee, in its wisdom, put it up in the “Posted Review” portion of the board, where Jabootu’s readers could dissect whichever movie they chose. While “The pine stays green in winter…Wisdom in hardship” might be really deep and all, it simply isn’t a review. One wonders if there isn’t a better way to peddle your product.
The best part for me was when I discovered Onknee was replying to his own threads. One thread, bearing the heading “Another Chinese Saying”, reads “The tongue like a sharp knife…Kills without drawing blood.” Which is interesting in and of itself. It did not need a post reinforcing this (“interesting [:)]”) Especially not three minutes after the fact. Using the same user name even.
Way to blow the game, Onknee.
Like I said, I found all of this fairly amusing. I still do. Not ha-ha funny – spam doesn’t have that much wit – but funny nonetheless.
Which probably means I deserved ever bit of spam I would get…
Couple of notes here. The image of Onknee in the text above is of the robot Johnny 5, from the movies Short Circuit 1 and 2. I hate Johnny 5, but he does have fans that frequent the site bearing his name, Johnny-Five.com. I lifted the picture from there.
Next time, I’ll discuss my three mock posters and what I learned from the experience. From there I will return once more to the topic of spam. Specifically the spam that plagued me.