And the ultimate: Spammers.
Yesterday, we got this bulletin in the email:
The Word to the World is a non-denominational not for profit organization founded to give Churches and Christian Organizations the ability to put their Church Service Videos and Classes on the World Wide Web 24/7 Worldwide at extremely low cost. All videos start from the Church or Organization web site through a link we send to you. Live or Delayed, Video or Web Audio or Web…
Well, you get the idea. It came to the Spinetingler email. Not my Spinetingler email, but the email@example.com email.
And some of you will notice the word verification has been on and off on my blog lately. It was keeping some commenters out, apparently, but I turn it on every now and again when blog spam gets bad.
I turned it off and I got this:
Cool site on penis enlargement surgery Check out my Penis Enlargement
Now, I haven’t been over there to check it out. Please don’t go. Don’t encourage this vulture, the guy with the blogger name “superlong”. I beg you, for a variety of reasons. I mean, we all know that guys who have to brag about it are compensating for something.
Plus, if you were that inadequate that you had to get surgery, should you really be bragging about that? It’s not like he’s a natural superlong. A wannabe who scraped up enough money so that he could look like a big boy. It’s like advertising to the world that you know you’re naturally pathetic, isn’t it?
I mean, I wouldn’t go out there bragging about breast implants. Not that I have them. I don’t have that problem. I.. oh, never mind. (Come on Boy Kim. I just know you’ve got a response for this!)
But why bring all of this up? Why draw attention to this on my blog, which is a sanctuary devoted to purity, goodness and light, solace from the pressures of the world, a haven I’ve sought to create for you all?
Because I have seen some of the most ridiculous comments made recently by authors, and they related to blogs and spam.
An author actually encouraging other authors to follow their example. They do searches on blogs and go on, comment on the blog and then introduce themselves and their book. This is how they’re marketing their work.
I stood right up and said, “NOT ON MY BLOG.”
There were strong opposing views on it, and I was shocked. I could fathom one or two people being clueless, but publishers weighing in, encouraging their authors to do this?
Let me tell you something. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve gotten a fair bit of spam. I hate spam. If it pops up on recent, active threads, I delete it.
I’ve also gotten unsolicited emails that are form letters, actually adverts, promoting books, telling me why I should buy this book I’ve never heard of before.
I hate those people. Passionately.
Average day, I get about 200 emails. Some of it is pretty easy to filter through. Some demands my attention. Some demands a lot of my attention.
And I like to keep my plate clear instead of letting things pile up.
I love emails from friends. I love emails – don’t misunderstand. But people who decide they’re going to take my private address and force their junk in front of me?
I hate it when I walk out of a store and am bombarded by people selling stuff on the sidewalk. I hate it when people come to the door pushing their cause.
I absofuckinglutely hate telemarketers.
This one guy, he kept calling here and wouldn’t leave me alone. Every day, same time. I finally stopped answering the phone. Then one day, I did answer and he asked if my mother was home.
I said no. (It wasn’t a lie!)
So he asked me when my mother would be home.
I said I wasn’t allowed to tell strangers things like that on the phone.
Bastard finally stopped calling. Thing is, he wanted to come clean our furnace. But he didn’t believe me when I said we didn’t have one – not like he meant. We have a boiler and it doesn’t work that way…
So every day for three months, he subjected me to the ringing phone. The same conversation.
If I feel that strongly about people telemarketing and about people who go door to door, you’d better believe I’m not happy with people who spam via email and blogs, or forums.
I know I have to get used to telling people about myself and my book. That’s one thing here. But even joining listserves I never introduce myself properly. I can’t. It’s so showy. It’s so ‘in your face’. It’s so, ‘grab the microphone from the mc at the wedding reception and start telling everybody about me’. Blech.
There are things that inspire me to buy books, and they are never adverts. Interviews. People posting really intelligent things on blogs, forums or listserves. Yep – I pay attention. I decide someone’s pretty smart, and I want to get their book.
Last year, when I was picking books to read before Harrogate, I looked at Simon Kernick’s website. Snapped my fingers, and put him up at the top of the list. There was humour and automatic likeability.
You’ll always find me to be more of a cheerleader for others, more enthusiastic about the latest great read from so-and-so. I much prefer to speak on what I love.
As for the spammers, they get one of two reactions.
I reply to an email and say that if they want to send a free review copy to Spinetingler, we’ll consider doing a review.
Or their name goes on a list of books/authors I have no intention of buying.
It’s petty. But it’s true. We put up a “no solicitation” sign at our house when we lived in the city, and anyone who knocked on that door and tried to sell something, if they weren’t a kid selling girl guide cookies, that business went on my mental list.
It’s the only power I’ve got against these people. So I use it. Any of the authors that frequent this joint are most welcome to mention their books if it fits the talk.
But you show up on my blog with a float and a box of goods to sell, and I’m shutting you down. It’s no different than someone from Dunkin’ Donuts walking in to a Krispy Kreme store and trying to sell their donuts there.
They make ambulance chasers look tolerable.
Bad news, worse news
Mr. Smith goes to the doctor's office to collect his wife's test results. The lab technician says: "I'm sorry, sir, but there has been a bit of a mix-up - we have a problem. When we sent the samples from your wife to the lab, the samples from another Mrs. Smith were sent as well and we are now uncertain which one is your wife's. Frankly, it's all either very bad or terrible!"
"What do you mean?" said Mr. Smith.
"Well, one Mrs. Smith has tested positive for Alzheimer's, and the other Mrs. Smith has tested positive for AIDS. We can't tell which is which.
"That's terrible!” said Mr. Smith. “Can we do the test over?"
"Normally, yes. But you have Ontario Health Care, and they won't pay for these expensive tests more than once."
Well, what am I supposed to do now?" said Mr. Smith.
"Ontario Health Care recommends that you drop your wife off in the middle of town. If she finds her way home, don't sleep with her."