Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No! I Will NOT contribute 5 Cents to that Sick Child!

I'm sick of Chain e Mails.

I'm so sick of emails some people send me (oh, how much I feel like calling them offensive and degrading names!) saying that "Please forward this e mail if you have a heart" or "Please forward this message to everyone you know" or "Please help to save a life" and might contain a poem named "Slow Dance" or something. They claim they are so authentic (yeah, and I'm Superman in disguise). It might be something else like "forward this 100 time and it will bring you fortune. This is REAL! This worked for me" or "Fwd:FWD: Worst Virus Ever: Be careful !!!". The last one I got was named "Fwd: Pleeeeease forward costs nothing 2 u.". Costs nothing?!!! It costs my patience, my nerves, my bandwidth, my time and sometime my sense also when I notice the sender is sometimes an IT student!

I won't mind promoting a cause which I know of and I could verify, like the fund raiser to support a university student who was dying from a cancer. But all the other things which no one can verify the validity (which is the common case) are not going to pass though me.

To make it clear I'll just say: "Those mails are hoaxes, so stop spamming!". Give some thought on these points. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeese! ;)

1. E mail systems were never designed to track E mails.

E mail which is explained in gory technical details in RFCs, 2822, 2045 through 2049 were never designed with a facility to track the emails sent. Later facilities were added to support delivery receipts and return receipts. But this is just for the servers. This means that as far as I know Microsoft, AOL or any other (unless of course they are employing Hana Gitelman) *cannot* track any emails you send.

So our genius Spammer friends out there will next time tell you that your e mail provider is donating this project, instead of AOL. You are warned. If you are convinced that it is the case, please re-read the privacy statement of your e mail service provider and contact them if necessary.

2. There's no reliable way I know of which can track data across the Internet

Internet had a vast number of server interconnected in some means. I guess all of you remember that basic introduction. So,... when you send a mail, that piece of data travels thought this forest of servers, through numerous nodes and so on. Some servers strip data from that, some add to that. So don't expect that there's a reliable technique to track e mail. So what ever some mails claim, it is not effective up to my knowledge.

3. Some of the things are known Hoax mails/chain mails

I know most of you don't care, but some of these cases are well documented on the Internet/WWW as known junk. Next time when you receive such a mail, do a little background search and see for your self.

Next time you feel like forwarding a mail about Amy Bruce, Craig Sheldon or whoever it is, Stop! Most of the people who forward do not even think of checking a little about these claims. Most organizations have warning pages about chain mails. For example Make-A-Wish has a page saying that Amy (Amrita, etc., etc.) Bruce chain mail is a known hoax.

4. You are helping Spammers!

I once got a chain mail which had over 2000 e mail addresses in it. Yes! over 2000. Some were wide open to read. Some were hidden in the header. However, should a spammer get his/her hand on that mail (which I'm pretty sure of) he/she will have another 2000+ e mail adresses to their database. Just imagine the number of e mail addresses passing in the Internet in pure text format!

It is believed that most of these chain mails originate from professional spammers. :) And I've seen some locally originated stuff too. Whatever the cause may be, it'll still be for spammers advantage.

5. You are offending/harming others

By including your friends e mail addresses in a spam mail list, you are doing a harm to them. Then you are also affecting their productivity, time, bandwidth, etc. You also expose them to phishing and other forms of scams, and also could carry malware like trojans, worms, spyware, etc. If you don't listen to any other reason, at least stop because of this security concern. Need I say anything more? You know the pain for yourself.

6. You are harming yourself

By continuously sending chain mails, you are not only jeopardizing your friends, but also damaging your credibility and reputation. Your email address will shortly enter blacklists and it would be very hard to earn the credibility. For example there are guys that I completely ignore when I check mails or better, completely filter out. Me doing this might not hurt you, but it will when Google does that.

Some of these mails will tell a heart touching story of a sick child, sick husband or someone like that and mention something like "AOL and Microsoft will track this e mail and contribute 5 cents per every message you forward". Else it might me like "Dialog is offering brand new free Nokia phones, forward this 100 times to qualify for a N95 draw." Sounds familiar? It should be. I doubt some of you have even been forwarding such mails. If so please give up in the name of real people suffering from your spam.

I know most (if not all) of the people who send me these kind of emails have a good intention of supporting an innocent soul. But I'm so sorry to tell you that there are jerks you are feeding upon your good human soul. So please stop, now. You are not helping anyone. No you are not donating anything when you forward those mail. For make the point clear, no one is tracking how many times you send that e mail. So stop hitting forward button in vain.

If you are not ready to take my word for it try Googling to be ashamed of continuing chain mails. For those who are too lazy to click on that link, I'll list a few things you should see.

Your mails will not be tracked, will not be counted, will not help, will not bring good luck, will not win you prices, will not do any good.

Drop spamming your friends today!


  1. thanks for helping get the word out.
    Parry Aftab

  2. @Parry, you are welcome. It's good to know that the post has been noticed. I hope more people will read it and follow the links to enlighten themselves. :)

  3. gaveen i am also with u on ur thoughts i cant belive how ppl take those mails for granted na froward them thats 1000.times really stupid