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Spammy marriage proposal

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Someone I don't know posted a comment here the other day that I thought was kinda interesting, but a little bit too much like spam for me to allow it.

And yet, I'm now going to link to the site that it was linking to.

If the story is true, then Proposal to Mary is a website set up by a German living in the US, who wants to propose to his (?) girlfriend of five years, whose name is apparently Mary. Only he's proposing in a roundabout and kinda geeky and very public and arguably kinda sweet and yet also kinda spammy way: by posting the proposal on a website and asking people to spread the word.

The idea is that when Mary recognizes herself in a posting somewhere, she'll visit the site and ideally accept the proposal.

I imagine there are plenty of women named Mary in the US who are going out with Germans, so I'll add one detail from the poem on the site: they apparently met in Alaska in the month of May (presumably at least five years ago).

Under some circumstances, I would have no qualms about spreading this kind of thing. But there are two problems here:

  • It's spammy. The proposer started by sending email to 50 random unknown people. Many of those people have been posting the email proposal to unrelated forums, and/or spamming friends with it. The site even specifically says "please send the following text by email to a lot of people." I don't approve of unsolicited mass email, even in a good cause. The proposer does explicitly say not to spam, but the whole system of spreading the word is spammy by my definitions (even though noncommercial). I figure the way around that for me is to spread it by posting in my journal, in my own words, and including my reservations about it. But I strongly recommend not following the instruction to email the proposal to a lot of people.
  • There's no way of knowing whether the site is for real. It could be a viral marketing campaign for a forthcoming new TV series. It could be a way to generate traffic for a site that will later turn into a spam site. It could be anything. It could be for real; that, and the novelty of it, is why I'm posting this entry. But I've seen a lot of things online that looked real and later turned out not to be, so I'm wary.

Still, if it's real, then I hope the proposal reaches Mary. Unlike some of the commenters in the site's guest book, I'm assuming that the proposer knows Mary well enough to be justified in thinking that she'll find this approach endearing and romantic.

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Update: In the three days since I posted this, there've been two further attempts to post the original email as a comment to old journal entries of mine. Both were unambiguously spam--the URL field pointed to an unrelated commercial site.

So it looks like there's a new(ish) kind of comment spam: comments that have legitimate (at least potentially legitimate) for-a-good-cause content, in order to allow the commenter to also provide a link to their own spam site.

Now that I think of it, I'm a little surprised I haven't seen Craig Shergold comment spam yet. I'm sure it'll happen, if it hasn't already.


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