Thursday, December 04, 1997
The Junk E-mail Spam
by Selena Maranjian (TMFSelena@aol.com)
HEY, LOOK WHAT I FOUND, MATT!
You've probably received mail like this before -- from "Jen" or "Donna" or someone else masquerading as a friend or acquaintance of yours. Junk mail can be very frustrating, especially when you receive more of it each day than you do mail from people you actually know and like.
My eyes usually glaze over as I delete these items from my mailbox each morning (although occasionally I pause to wonder whether anyone ever responds to the ridiculous missives). Today, however, I suddenly began noticing that many of these seemingly outrageous claims could possibly be Foolish. That's right -- if the Fool decided to begin spamming the universe, we could use a lot of the same language. Consider the following examples:
YOUR FINANCIAL FREEDOM!
Kinda says it all. The Motley Fool, after all, is all about you and your financial freedom. We hope to free you from the fetters binding you helplessly to full-service brokers, underperforming mutual funds, and the Wall Street Wise in general.
FREE ADULT XXX PICS FOR ALL!
For adults? You bet. (Although you're never too young to begin saving and investing; the compounding clown's magic is at its best when given a long time horizon.) Pics? Surely that refers to Profound Investing Counsel. XXX? Isn't that how your grandma closes her cards and letters to you? Well, you're near and dear to our hearts, too.
GET PAID TO WATCH TV!
As a TV aficionado, this come-on really appeals to me. I wouldn't normally believe it, though, except when I stop and realize that this is one of the core messages of Foolishness. That's right. Do your investing homework, plunk your cash into great companies for the long term, and then earn money while watching TV, while learning to swing dance, while perfecting your bearnaise sauce, and while sleeping, for that matter.
FREE SOFTWARE, SAMPLES AND MORE!
Head on over to our "Electronic Fool" area and you'll be able to download free samples of our flagship Weekly Fool digest, the Arizona Stock Analysis, Industry Snapshot, and the like. You can even download the software you'll need to view some of these items.
INTERNET MARKETING SYSTEM!
Yup, we've got an Internet marketing system right here at Fool Intergalactic Headquarters. It's called FoolMart, and a shameless plug for it follows. (If shameless plugs disgust you, please skip to the next section.) You'll find FoolMart at both our website and on AOL, where it features secure online purchasing and scores of books (on sale right now for a limited time), primers, Foolish apparel, subscription products, investing tools, and more. With holiday season upon us, you might want to wander through our virtual aisles, looking for some unique gifts. (Earrings for your Foolish mom? Tie for dad? A genuine velveteen jester cap for the twelve-year-old next door who sets the time on your new digital watch and your VCR? A subscription to the Evening News for your cousin who always seems to be making investing mistakes?)
As many people are surprised to find out, the Motley Fool is free. Just as "Baywatch" is brought to you by Sparkle Suds detergent and "Monsterpiece Theater" is supported by giant corporations and viewers like you, almost all of the Fool is available for perusal at no charge to you. Advertisers who want to reach people like you pay us in order to put their names and messages in front of you. Thus, an economic model based on eyeballs is born.
20% GUARANTEED ANNUAL RETURN!
Again, a loud line of hype which would make most reasonable (but un-Foolish) folks snort and scoff. Fools know better, though. We don't need to investigate such claims because we're already well aware of the Dow Dividend Approach and how it has returned up to roughly 20% per year, on average, since 1971. Want to do your friends a favor? Pique their interest by exclaiming, "20% guaranteed annual return!" and then give them a nudge in the direction of the Dow Dividend Approach. They'll thank you for it, either now or decades later.
FABULOUS ITALIAN SAUSAGE RECIPE!
Huh? Yup, viewed from the right angle, this too is Foolish. Too many investors get caught up in day-to-day stock price movements, having little time or attention to devote to enjoying life's little pleasures. Fools can have their sausage and eat it too, though. Once we get our investing ducks in a row, we can turn our attention to other matters.
DID YOU DREAM LAST NIGHT?
Most Fools dare to dream because they know that they are tending to their financial garden and that their ultimate earthly reward will be financial security. Therefore, they can dream of vacations in Tunisia, cottages by lakes, and college educations for their children and grandchildren.
GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE!
The Fool delivers again. Want to share your thoughts about investing and life with thousands of others? Then just post a message in a message folder. Exceptional posts are given extra exposure when selected as the Post of the Day or included in the Weekly Fool. And let's not forget Fribbles! You've certainly heard of them, as you're reading one right now. Hopefully, you realize that any reader is invited to contribute Fribbles. To pen a Fribble of your own, just click and read our "What's a Fribble?" item. Fribbles are up for discussion, too. Our Fribble folder isn't too crowded yet, but pop in, express your thoughts and maybe a discussion will evolve.
700 COMPANIES HIRING!
Heck, more than 700 companies must be hiring. If you hope to be hired by one of them, check out our Ask the Headhunter area, where Nick Corcodilos dispenses daring and surprising advice for those looking for work. Read why your resume doesn't matter and why "the work is the thing."
CHEMICAL ATTRACTANT THAT WORKS!
It's accepted that flashy cars and pearly teeth can be effective in attracting whoever you want to attract. But we should remember that Foolishness can be pretty darn attractive, too. There are plenty of Foolophiles out there who find it hard to resist a well-read person with a sense of humor who enjoys conversing about stocks. Maybe diamonds are forever, but 401(k) plans are for a long time, and usually for long enough.
TURN YOUR WASHING MACHINE INTO A CASH COW!
(Has Selena met her match in junk mail teasers? Can she relate the line above to investing?) Well, think about how many of us Fools have actually witnessed a washing machine generate some cash. I, for one, have on several occasions been surprised to find a well-washed dollar among my clothes when removing them from the washer. Does a dollar or two a cash cow make? Perhaps not. But it's still probably more than many people will ever make from lotteries. And it's very likely a lot more cash than you'll ever get out of your blender or your answering machine.
So next time you're spamed by junk-mailers, think twice about the message they're sending. Remove a few exclamation marks, correct the spelling, tone down the frantic urgency, and you might just be looking at a Foolish message.