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The Email Wormhole

Somewhere there is an email wormhole that is causing me to receive emails like the following one.

Hello sir/madam
Hello Goodday My name is Bob Smith.I will like to know if you sell banners.If yes.I want you to get me the 30 by 60 inhcesbanner with the color white,the art work should be (HAPPY BIRHTDAY)I will like you to get me 100pcs of that.And also i want you to tell me the method of payment you accept.Kindly get back to me as soon as possible.
Thank you
Bob Smith.

I have been getting 2 or 3 of these emails a week. They are always asking to buy a banner, with some specific dimensions and message (religious messages are especially popular). The writers of the emails generally appear to be Internet novices. The emails are never addressed to me personally (the “to” address varies), but they somehow wind up in my in-box.

Pretty much every time I get one of these, I send a reply back, explaining that I don’t sell banners, and asking the sender to tell me what website he is using, but I rarely get a reply, and if I do, it is only a request for more printed banners.

I have a few theories as to what is causing this.

1) Somewhere there is a spam blog, which contains some excerpts from my Coverpop website, which contains the word “banners” in a few spots. This blog also contains excerpts from some other website that sells printed banners. Internet Neophytes are somehow pulling my email address from this blog, or filling out a form which is getting routed to me. This would explain why the senders of the emails generally come off as novices (who might be unable to tell a spam blog from the real thing…).

2) Somewhere there is a legitimate business that sells banners, and they have a customer feedback form, and a sneaky, malicious computer geek has rigged the email system to forward all the inquiries to me.

3) A worm hole is causing all banner related inquiries from clueless newbs to end up in my inbox.

Got a clue for me?


As of February 2008, I’m still getting these emails. Today, I received a message from Rita, a printer who has responded to a few of these email. Apparently, it’s a kind of scam! Rita goes on to say:

I can only tell you that after careful communication with these so-called potential customers, I find that they want you, the seller, to do something with their “special payment method” or or use a certain freight company that I never heard of…and it is usually to a foreign country. Also their order is always a ridiculous and very expensive order. That is my first clue.

The last two, wanted me to use a frieght company…that I beleive was “bogus”. The customs and taxes would have been $2000-$3000 alone! If I had been suckered into it, I would have lost money, as the shipper. When I told these “customers” that I would only ship with a reputable company like UPS or FED_EX, they ignored that. Then I said I would only ship to them directly in the USA (as they claimed to live here) and they could turn around and ship to the foreign country, themselves,…then I did not ever hear back from them.

This also explains why these folks rarely email me back when I ask them questions about how they got my name…

2 Responses to “The Email Wormhole”

  1. Mike314B Says:

    Jim, did you do a quick calculation whether the order flow justifies setting up a banner printing business? Michael

  2. jbum Says:

    EXCELLENT idea Mike. Now if I can just find a spam blog with the word PRINTER on it…