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August 29, 2007

Postal Spam

In my postal mailbox today is the closest thing to email spam that I've ever seen delivered by the post office. It's an orange post card addressed to me "or current residents"—the postal equivalent of an indiscriminate non-personal message.

As I discuss at length in Spam Wars there are many differences between junk postal mail and spam, even when both are promoting a legitimate product from a legitimate sender. The biggest difference is that a postal mail sender incurs real costs in printing the piece and getting it into the postal system. The orange card I received had a "Presorted First Class US Postage PAID" indicia where the stamp usually goes. The USPS requires hard cash up front for these kinds of mailings, so the sender did shell out some cash to make this mailing.

On the back of the post card (there were no other markings on the front) is the following message:

You have won a FREE GIFT!
Call IMMEDIATELY to receive your gift.
Absolutely FREE

That's it. No idea what the gift is, who "J.E.I." is, or what the catch will be to collect the free gift. Who knows, it could even be one of those scams that redirect seemingly toll-free phone numbers to offshore premium phone services that dump the charges onto the caller's phone bill (illegal in the U.S. now, but that hasn't stopped crooks).

I Googled the phone number and came up with several hits. Some older pages point to a home improvement business in Hayward, CA. Another site lists the number among a ton of numbers associated with telemarketers.

The text on the back of the card is just so spammy that it would be more at home in my email server's trash bin than my mail box. If the sender won't identify himself and be honest about the pitch, screw him. I am, however, stoked that it cost him 30-50 cents (printing, list rental, postage) to get that orange post card into my recycling bin.

Posted on August 29, 2007 at 01:52 PM