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Q: Since spam is an international problem.................... ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: Since spam is an international problem....................
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: liner-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 07 Apr 2003 15:15 PDT
Expires: 07 May 2003 15:15 PDT
Question ID: 187342
Why is my spam always in English?
Don’t Norwegians see Norwegian?
Aren’t the Greeks reading it in Greek?
Do Frenchmen see French from “A” to “Zed”? (The French never care what
they do, actually, as long as they spell it properly.)
Will Arabians read it in Arabian with the speed of summer lightning?
Do Hebrews read it backwards (which is absolutely frightening)?
Oh why is MY spam only in English?

(With apologies to GBS)

And a short advertisement:  Would anybody like to look further at
question 184969?  Were the "good old days" really better?
Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 11 Apr 2003 07:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear Liner, 

My spam is not always in English. Most of it, though, is in English.

How come? 

I think it has to do with two elements. One reason, and that is only a
speculation, is that the most common language in the Internet is
English. The spammers assume, that if your email is registered in a
.com/.net address, you could understand English. After all, the
purpose of spam is to attract as many as possible to read the ad/click
the link, and therefore - they use the most common language.

The second element is even more obvious: the spammers write to you in
English, because your email is (at the time) mostly at databases that
are in English.

How do spammers get your email address? 

read2live-ga gave a great and entertaining link:  "Phil Bradley's
Great SPAM Experiment. How do we get spam?" at
<>. Bradley's ordeal suggests that our
email addresses get cropped from "opt out" lists (that is, if you
click the link saying that you're not interested in getting more spam)
and on the second place - from a mailing list of a discussion group
(the spammer crawked through the archives). In both cases - the spam
you got (and opted out of) was in English, and so was the discussion

Also the other sources of spammers' harvest might be English-based in
your case:
- If you have your own site (and its in English)
- If you filled one of those Internet forms (to win something, for
example) in English
- From IRC and chat rooms in English
- From white & yellow pages - sad but true - you're listed and busted.

See also: 
Uri Raz, How do spammers harvest email addresses ?,

Alex Sirota, Spam of the Times 5-25-2001

Declan McCullagh, Spam Oozes Past Border Patrol,,1283,41860,00.html

Chris Sherman
SearchDay - Banish Foreign Language Email Spam - 11 November 2002

I hope this answered your question. I searched the Net for:  
to find information for you. If you need any further clarifications on
the answer, please let me know. I'd be pleased to clarify my answer
before you rate it.
liner-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for a well-documented and interesting reply.  I confess that it
was more of a musing on a subject than something I was emotionally
involved in. And in fact, I thought of that GBS doggerel as soon as I
thought about "why is my spam only in English."  That was while I was
driving home; when I get home, what is playing on the stereo but My
Fair Lady?  SO, I just HAD to ask.

Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: pinkfreud-ga on 07 Apr 2003 19:23 PDT
This is a fascinating question to which I have no answer, but I would
like to point out that, since Hebrew is read from right to left, one
would expect that an Israeli would not receive 'spam', but 'maps'.

Left for another day is the matter of why the English can't teach
their children how to speak. ;-)

Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: read2live-ga on 07 Apr 2003 21:52 PDT
Sorry to disagree.

I get a lot of spam from addresses with .kr and .cn suffixes, and it
is totally unreadable.  Guess I'm just lucky...

Talking of spam, have you read "Phil Bradley's Great SPAM Experiment.
How do we get spam?" at <>  Very
Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: tisme-ga on 07 Apr 2003 21:54 PDT
I have received tons of French and Arabic spam myself. (I have a .ca
address, maybe that helps?)
Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: j_philipp-ga on 07 Apr 2003 22:36 PDT
I receive some German spam, maybe 1 out of 50 (but then again, I'm
German). It's just a fact that most good and bad things on the 'net
are English.
Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: carlar-ga on 07 Apr 2003 23:00 PDT
I receives tons of spam in English, but have you received 2 Swedish
spam messages in my life, although the e-mail address can be
identified as Swedish.

I suppose cultural differences is one reason, Sweden being a small
country with pretty tough scam laws makes it harder to hide from

Oh, and hey, can I say that it’s because Swedes are smarter too and
don’t click on the spam they get? ;-)
Subject: Re: Since spam is an international problem....................
From: heavylee-ga on 08 Apr 2003 10:14 PDT
I know a little bit about mass/bulk email blasting, and lists are
usually organized by domain and/or geographic region.  There is A
LITTLE targeting in this spam madness.  It could be, Liner, that your
email address is only contained within lists for English recipients.

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