12/14/2006

The Case of the Incredible Multiplying Email Alias

(-- or "How I Learned to be a Complete Idiot and Send Out Spam Via the 'Me Too' Effect...")

"A man does not exist until he is drunk." -- Ernest Hemingway



From the ReallyReallyDumb Department:


This one "takes the cake" for absolute stupidity! I wouldn't even know about this except for the fact that I once started work on a book for this publisher, which deal I eventually got out of, but they've never taken my email address off their "Authors" list.

This afternoon about 2 PM, I get about 20 emails from the "contacts@....." address of this publisher, who shall remain unnamed, (you probably know who they are anyway). Apparently, some complete idiot set up this address to relay any mail sent to it to every author in the list (or maybe they didn't even know, which in my book still qualifies for "idiot" status), and then they decided to "Test it" - even asking other people to "Send it an email every 30 minutes" - Good God! So somebody sends a mail with this alias in the CC list, right? BOOM! 200 people get a copy of it and what do they do? You got it - they hit the reply button, which includes the alias in their CC list in many cases, and instead of 200 emails, now you have 800 more. Not to mention all the bounces from people who are "Lo Babayit" (Nobody Home) or whose mail servers are sending the bounce mail notifications BACK TO THE ALIAS -- which of course, once again, replicates the entire process, ad nausuem.

Well, this started about 1PM, its finally starting to die down about 5PM. I've seen this a couple of times before, where the "Me too!" effect kicks in, creating absolute recursive havoc with news and mail servers (not to mention any poor slob who happens to have gotten their tail in the loop, like me).

N.B. -- Oops, spoke too soon. It's Friday morning, and there are another 60 or so from their own Postmaster address. Boy, did they create a mess!

Go figure. Lawn Chair Larry from Los Angeles wasn't even this dumb - at least he took along some sandwiches, a six pack of beer and a BB gun!