Love Me, Love My Spam
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – What does the daily onslaught of spam tell us about people who use the Internet? A perusal of my in-box might be instructive. But I'll tell you from the get-go, it's not pretty. If my spam is any indication, Internet users have some pretty serious problems, and not all of them are psychological.

First, they seem to be overly interested in establishing contact with their former high school classmates. Now, I don't know about you, but my high school classmates were a pretty motley bunch. The ones I actually remember I still talk to now and then--all two of them. The thing that's interesting about this spam is that when you click on the offer to see "7 of yr classmates for free!" you get a form on how to pay money to see them.

So I guess we have our first theme here. Internet marketers have determined that Internet users are stupid.

Further proof of this postulate comes from a spamster who offers me a good deal on the pot with the holes on top as seen on TV. It is a pot for people who don't know how to use a colander. It looks very convenient, and I'm going to be sure to click on that link really soon, as soon as I feel confident in giving my credit card information to an organization that sends me spam daily offering me a pot for people who don't know how to use a colander, one that you can order on TV every night and is also available at my local mall at a kiosk dedicated to products that one may obtain only on television.

And right after I give my credit card information to those people, I guess I'll also have my brain completely removed and give them my banking data so that I can secure the lowest mortgage rates in the world outside the former Yugoslavia, and give them my mailing information to collect that cool $1,000 in grocery coupons that I've been cleared for after, I am sure, a rigorous investigation of my qualifications for this perk.

In addition to being stupid, spam marketing pundits must have also ascertained, Internet users are insecure, possibly for good reasons. A good number would seem to have yellow teeth, because dozens of companies have been kind enough to suggest ways that I might whiten mine. Many, in addition, would appear to be bald, or at least balding, given the profusion of opportunities I am offered to enjoy painless hair replacement or simply thwart my genetic heritage and regrow thick, lustrous hair. I have some hair that is thick, but only in certain places. And as for lustrous, well, what is anymore?

Legions of online citizens are also fat, if you take the number of products aimed at such people to be any indication. I am not fat. But I do have big bones. I find it kind of insulting to be continually offered products that will help me drop ugly pounds of adipose tissue, usually pills with names like Meta-Muscle. There's no way of knowing what's in them, but I assume they've been thoroughly tested by the FDA before they are allowed to go out over the Internet to millions of people.

But most important, I suppose, is the information that Internet users are distressingly small in a number of key areas that can drastically affect social opportunities. I am at a loss to soft-pedal these inadequacies, so I must urge any queasy reader to stop here and go to the section of this magazine that deals with technology or hardware or something. Because we're talking about the softest software of all.

That's right, after months of studying the subject, I have come to the conclusion that Internet users have tiny penises. At least the men do. At least 50% of my spam on the subject deals with that condition. I'm starting to take it personally, but there's really no reason for that. I lived a long time before it occurred to me that I might want to be, you know, improved in that area, or even that such a thing was possible. Now I don't know. Why are they sending me this stuff? And in such profusion? Do they know something I don't?

I have literally hundreds of offers from various companies that make clear what's possible in this new and exciting arena of medical practice. I clicked on one of the links once, and it sent me to a page with a picture of a lovely young woman stretching in a bathing suit, but there wasn't a whole lot of medical discussion. So it's unclear to me how it works. It must, though, or why would dozens of companies be promising the benefits?

Right now I'm a little confused about what to do. I wish the spam would stop, you know, but I don't think it's going to. This morning I had 61 messages in my in-box, and most of them had to do with my software. I don't know what to think. I guess I'll respond either to the free African safari I've been offered or the two-week free stay in a condo in the Bahamas, and let it percolate.

You don't want to let the good things in life pass you by.

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at