If you use a site that’s designed to help you make and maintain contacts, such as LinkedIn, you’ll be familiar with the occasional random requests to make friends. These usually come from people that you might know (but probably don’t), half know (but don’t want to know more) or just plain old don’t know at all.
Yesterday, I got just such a message via LinkedIn, from someone named “Eufrosina Pachedo quicksolutionmortgage” (the clue is in the name), asking me to connect. Of course, I declined – the only people that I connect to are people who I know personally, or who’s work I know well enough to want to connect to them.
But the interesting part was in the body copy of the request email:
“May I ask you to also take a look at the Second Life location of a good friend of mine, David Hall aka the GuruConnector. He is also involved with a new venture called CNO Partners at www.cnopartners.com. “
This piqued my curiosity enough to jump into Second Life (you can often find me there, as “Ian Priestman” if you want to say hello) and wander along to the location that was included with the mail. What I found was a small hut in a one of the hideous parcels of land that’s been split into ever smaller packets, all of which are used for advertising anything from lotteries to tattoo parlours to gambling on the mainland of Second Life.
It’s been a while since I was on the mainland, and I’d forgotten how horrific that some areas of it are. Apart from the small package of land that was occupied by a tiny office for “CNO Partners” there were rotating ads for just all the usual suspects, and it looked like a nightmare vision of completely untalented, unregulated ad-splurge.
This is the first time, though, that any unsolicited mailer – and that’s what these contact requests really amount to – has ever included anything about Second Life, and I think it’s interesting to consider what will happen when spammers really get their teeth into its world. If Linden Labs thinks it has a problem with self-replicating objects now, wait until it starts getting the attention of the kinds of people who’ve had years of experience constructing spam-mailing botnets.
[Edit - correct spelling. Thanks Kim!]