Suspicious New Form of Spam

April 5, 2010     

In the last few months I’ve gotten some very strange emails. Obviously these emails are spam… but they are meticulously crafted to appear as a legitimate exchange with no spamminess whatsoever. Observe the attention to detail:

The emails are designed in the form of an exchange about some partnership and event with insufficient detail to identify it. The emails are sent 15-60 minutes apart. They both originate from the same SMTP server, but they are routed completely differently. The headers are also carefully designed to indicate different email clients.

Normally I would just mark these spam and be done with it, but the curious thing is that there is no spam hook here, no identifiable URL, product, brand, stock, or entity of any kind. The only thing that comes close—the inscrutable acronym CLAGS—is not dominated by any notable organization.

So what’s the deal?

Daniel T says…
April 6, 2010 at 5:10AM

Maybe they’re just testing out something new and seeing what sticks…

youssef says…
April 7, 2010 at 8:41PM

Perhaps they use CLAGS to buy Google Adwords which will show some Cialis/Viagra in GoogleMail much cheaper.

Paul B. says…
April 19, 2010 at 5:54AM

I think you’ve just wound up mis-cc’d on a legitimate email. From this site:


I see that Carl Sylvestre, Gabriel de Guzman, Allen Ellenzweig, Jonathan Silin are all of the Giard Foundation. The site is outprofessionals.org, which “is the nation’s leading social and business networking organization for gay men and lesbians.” That would tend to indicate that CLAGS is the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. The Giard Foundation was indeed involved in the CLAGS awards:


I have a feeling that your email address is close enough to someone else’s on the list that it was just a mistake.

Gabe da Silveira says…
April 20, 2010 at 1:28PM

Wow, nice find. It’s amazing how once I believed it was spam, it just read like some generic pseudo business talked carefully designed to lead me in some unknown direction. In this case, I hope their event went well :)