Addicted to novelty since 2001

Seven Normal Words You Can’t Say in Emails

Increasingly, spam filters are on the lookout for non-vulgar words in your email. Susan offers a list of seven normal words that have becoming spam cues:

1. enlarge
2. win
3. long distance
4. free
5. big bucks
6. click here
7. spam

I wonder what people like Cloudmark, who develop spam filters, call spam in their emails. Do they have a special code word? “Bob, please send me the latest on this chimychanga we’re seeing from the Balkans.”

6 Responses to “Seven Normal Words You Can’t Say in Emails”

  1. Chris

    It’s not that having one of those words will always cause a message to be marked as spam. Any good spam filter will weigh a bunch of factors when determining the probability that a piece of mail is spam, including embedded images, hyperlinks, and the frequency of certain words and their proximity to other words. And filter that dumps a message because it has the word “free” in it is being a bit overzealous.

    (disclaimer: I work for a local company that makes anti-spam software)

  2. Cheryl

    I had problems when a particularly wide-sweeping spam program started blocking Esquimalt (a municipality near Victoria for non-local readers) for the four letter word between the s and the a. The odd thing is, most people have to look it up to discover its dirty-word status.

  3. davin

    i know. . .

    and it’s not like you can joke with your friends by pretending to be a spam emailer either .. the spam filter will nix your email (and possibly your email address for the future.) i have heard radio ads spoof spam, which is hilarious and sad at the same time — “suffering from small weekends? give your weekends more girth and size — enlarge your weekend with our contest bla bla!”

  4. Parenthesis

    Try this one on for size. Sending an extremely important e-mail to the Human Resources Executive at a rival company, the mail got bounced for profanity on all three hundred attempts because of the inclusion of the phrase “dego” in the mail – trouble is though, it was actually the phrase “De Gouveiea” that was causing the problem – the exec’s surname, and not a slur on the fact that she happens to be Portuguese. We eventually couriered the stuff over to their office. Go figure.

  5. chris

    I think I’m too stupid to understand any of this content. i dont know how i even got here succesfully

    chris Reply:

    also im going to be a garbage man when im older.

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