Spam Email Analyzed

I manage several email addresses through one interface with Gmail. My primary email addresses receive little spam, and that spam is caught by Gmail spam filters. This is in part because I am careful where I use my primary addresses. I have an account set up with Yahoo that I use where I fear spammers might exploit the address (and that account gets a ridiculous amount of spam). I usually dump the spam from my primary accounts without reading it–but I recently made a comment in a casual conversation that I wanted to back up with some data. The comment was this: “Most of the spam I get is targeted toward personal growth.” [1]

I made this comment because it seems like a disproportionate amount of the spam I get at my primary email accounts is related to “male enhancement.” But after making the comment I wondered, is it true? Or do the often hilarious subject lines from these emails just make a bigger impression than the other spam?

So for one week I charted the spam I received at my primary email addresses. And behold:

The verdict: My statement could be considered valid or invalid, depending upon how you define it. Only 46% of the spam I received in the past 7 days was focused on personal growth [2], but that is still a staggering majority when it comes to subject matter. The closest to the 46% share was the 8% represented by dating (and the dating category was pretty broad–from legitimate dating to nsa matching). It’s safe to say that the dominant subject was personal growth.

This is rather amazing to me. I understand that male insecurity is difficult to overestimate. My question is: who falls for this? Seriously?

I’m very curious what the trigger was for this onslaught of spam. Is it purely demographic or is it based upon where my address was gleaned? (I knew I shouldn’t have signed up for the Monster Trucks Weekly and Bazooka Hunting Quarterly newsletters.)

[1] This was a euphemism–and most people in the conversation realized that was the case.
[2] Technically it may have exceeded 50% if you broaden personal growth to include education: I got offers to learn languages and earn degrees.


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