Odd Gmail Spam

This is off topic, but I’d be interested if other bloggers have been getting these odd spam messages. For the last couple of months I’ve been receiving questions like the following:

Do you pay property tax on condo california?
Before I go ahead, is there any pointers you might have?
Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you so much.  Thanks,

These questions almost make sense, but they seem to be auto-generated based on the blog topic. I’ve gotten several similar messages from the following addresses, always signed with a different name than the return address:


Now normally spam is trying to get you to buy something or visit a website. The odd thing about these is they seem to just want answers to questions. What could be the motivation for this?

My theory is that they’re looking for unique content from bloggers to put on a website. Scrapers generally just steal material from existing websites and republish it, but search engines will penalize duplicate content. This would be a way for them to harvest unique content that hasn’t been published before, so it wouldn’t suffer the same search penalty. If that is what they’re up to its kind of clever actually – get people that are interested in a topic to answer general questions about it.

One way to check this theory is to reply to them with with somewhat reasonable nonsense, and then do a web search on your reply a month or so later to see if it shows up online.

The following question made such little sense, I couldn’t help but reply with a helpful answer:

How much cost water for a condo in canada?
Your insight into what would be the best way to proceed would be much appreciated.
Any help appreciated.  Thank you in advance.  yours truly, Tim

Hi Tim,

Condos with running water are the latest trend in Canada and have recently grown in popularity.  Water can increase the value of a condo tremendously.  In the Major cities (Vancouver, Montreal, Moosejaw) running water is highly prized and can lead to bidding wars on a property, even when mixed with a small amount of urine.  If both hot and cold running water are available in a residence (particularly if delivered via pipes), the sky’s the limit.  Expect to pay at least $140,000 pgm (Per Gallon Per Minute).

Thanks for writing, I hope this helps!

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never post your e-mail address anywhere spammers can get at it..


in 419eater.com

Once the spam baiter started baiting them he didn't get any email. But I agree don't reply it will confirm your email.


this perfectly explains daves' presence here…. 🙂

read on

or do the

jumbo (at) dogbiscuit (dot) com




My guess is that it works like this: In order to obtain valid email addresses, the robot does the following:

1. Conducts a spider search for email addresses over the web. Bloggers are one of the type of addresses which are exposed.

2. Send a robotic email to address. If there is a reply, the address is "live".

These are harvested periodically and sold to to database resellers who will pay 50cents for a valid address.

One way to avoid it is to bitmap your address into the site.



read on

sacha, if you replay with yr own address, it just make you get more spam as it proves your address is live. delete button.



I'll ask my Nigerian banker.

He owes me one…( I am waitng for the cheque to come ).


nice reply. from the grammatical syntax of the query, it appears to originate from Asia.


I will confirm that I have received this sort of spam from Gmail on financial-related topics. I just spam all of them. Your theory about content harvesting is valid, or perhaps if they get any response they will sell your address to some database.


Very funny!