Houghton-Mifflin email forwarding

(This page created 17 December 1996.)

They've done it again: somebody took a fairly innocuous non-email request to visit the Houghton-Mifflin page and turned it into a monster. The false email that's going around says:

The Houghton-Mifflin Publishing Co. is donating books to children's
hospitals; how many books they give depends on how many emails they receive
from people around the world.  For every 25 emails they receive, they give
one book--it seems like a great and easy way to help a good cause.

All you have to do is email:       [address elided by Jed]

Hope you can spare the seconds...and let your friends know.  So far they
only have 3,400 messages...last year they reached 23,000.

Please forward this message to as many other people as you can.

Friends at Houghton-Mifflin tell me that the resulting spam crashed HM's mail server. The mail request presumably originated from a well-intentioned reader of HM's Web page who simply misunderstood what was being asked... Needless to say, if you receive the above item you should not forward it.