Smart (Robotic) Emailing

Saturday, April 30 2005

You know when you get automated emails from online stores, and it says something like:

Dear Michael,</p>

Thank you for purchasing: CRATE OF CHEESE

It’s not very personal, right? They say your name, but you know it’s just a robot squirting your name in. They could be so much more personal if they just wrote a few extra lines of code.

For example, based on my name, the order confirmation above could read like this instead:


First of all did you know that you share your name with 13 Million people around the world? Half the kids you went to school with were named Michael, so you had to all differentiate yourselves with the first initial of your last name, or the first two if your last names started with the same letter.

Thank you for purschasing: CRATE OF CHEESE

It’s pretty simple. You keep a database of common names, and you just associate a fact or two with those names, and plug that in when sending out the email, all automatically. Why no one has ever done this nearly puts me into a coma. Think of what kind of response spammers would have if they could say something about me, personally (or at worst, my name).

In case you’re not convinced, here are a few more examples:


Ever wonder why people call you Chuck? So do we. Seriously, try looking it up, you’ll never figure it out. Makes us wonder about Dick also. Who ever thought to call someone named Richard Dick. How did something like that stick from generation to generation? Let us know if you ever figure it out.




Hah! Too bad your name is associated with the devil by a lot of people. Good luck working with children, and it might be a good idea to keep your evil grin/scowl in good shape. That won’t stop us from selling to you though, in fact, we’re not opposed to selling you anything, including our souls. But do promise to make it worthwhile okay? We’re into dwarves if that helps. Dwarves and monkey butlers. Mostly we just want to sit around sipping Guava juice and have our unwanted hair removed while we sleep or watch television. And Ted, down in Human Resources, personally requests that you make it possible for him to be invisible. Ted also claims that you need to do it right. If you do it like they did in Hollow Man, he’ll be blind. Here. Ted is typing now. You must make sure light falls on my optic nerve. My optic nerve must only be translucent at worst, opaque at best, but not fully invisible otherwise the light just goes right through and I won’t see a thing. Thank you.

Thank you for purchasing: CARAMEL CORN HAT & NECKTIE KIT

Seriously web programmers, whip up that database.