Checking my inbox this morning I noticed a red, high priority email from Sarah McCarthy-Fry, my MP, with the subject “JANUARY E-NEWSLETTER FROM SARAH MCCARTHY-FRY MP”. Opening the email, I find it doesn’t even have any text, just one massive image… And I didn’t even ask for it!
Pretty much all the trappings of SPAM, then.
I understand that email is a new technology (only 46 years old), but this email had a distinctly 1998 feel to it. I’m surprised it wasn’t tagged as spam by either SpamAssassin or gmail, considering it’s similarity to the old “HOT TEEN BITCHES” and penis enlargement pill spams of yesteryear. Having an all caps subject and no text in the body is usually a trigger for anti-spam filters.
Now, some advice for any other MPs planning to spam their constituents. We already get spammed by you through the post, so if you are going to email us as well you had better try and get it right. Firstly, your email is not “high priority” or “urgent”, and enabling the “read reply” feature is not only an attempt to invade privacy but also doesn’t work much of the time. Secondly, using ALL CAPS is the internet equivalent of shouting, so don’t do it. Thirdly, using a big image instead of actual text is a very bad idea, because it makes it impossible for people to reply to, forward or search your message properly, and besides which many people can’t see images in email because of the potential security risks. It’s also a favourite trick of spammers, and likely to get your email filtered out as such.
Finally, and here is the most important rule, unless I asked to receive your email, it is SPAM and you must not send it to me. Just writing to you in a futile attempt to affect change in the world and mentioning my email address as a digital signature does not give you the right to spam it.
PS. Check out Ms. McCarthy-Fry’s record on theyworkforyou.com. Overseas trips to Pakistan and the Falklands, total mastery verbal diarrhoea and some exemplary party political arse kissing in parliament.