Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fight Spam with Spam

EV #62 "Fight Spam with Spam"
It's small. I know. Click here to see it up close.
(This is an off-story comic.)
~Riley

Late.
Blame school.
Everyone does.

Now that we got that out of the way, here you realize that I've interrupted the wonderful story we had going on. This is for two reasons. First, I actually haven't written very far into the story, so I need to buy myself a little time. Second, I want to continue doing an occasional non-story comic.

During the early days of EV, I had a story that didn't involve all my characters at the same time, so I would occasionally meander to another character's adventures in a single-comic episode. Plus, it lets me shove in random jokes that don't have to do with anything.

Anyway, that's what I did here. Expect something like this about every fourth comic; or else about once a month.

Now, as usual with jokes that involve E2, this one is long-winded and complicated. I thought I had explained it well enough in the comic, but here's the Sparknotes version:
If you put your email address somewhere on the internet, a spammer might find it and start sending you spam. Usually spammers use computer programs to do this automatically, so they don't actually read anything on the webpage. E2 made an email address, and put it on a website so he can get spam on it, on purpose. The website tells people not to send email to that address, but since spammers don't read the webpage, they still send him email. Whenever anyone sends him email to that address, he assumes it's a spammer, so his computer records the email address and sells it other spammers. Since it's all automatic, none of the spammers know. That way, nobody is really hurt, except for spammers, who E2 thinks deserve it.
E2 probably doesn't have a real job. This is how he makes money, instead, and he considers himself heroic because of it.
There you go. I know it's a lot more complex than a "Chinchilla is so random" joke, but not every comic can be about Chinchilla. I feel like E2 has been a little neglected of late.

I've actually tried drawing this comic more than once. Understandably, it's been a little tricky trying to properly summarize this elaborate scheme E2 has come up with --- especially considering my first attempt was crammed into one panel.

The umbreon he is talking to comes from the guest comics provided by a friend in November of 2011. She has no name, as of yet, but the artist told me I could use her if I wanted. Since I couldn't really come up with anyone better (and it was kinda cool drawing the umbreon), I roped her into this mess.

Anonymous is the name of a worldwide hacker alliance. The freaky dude holding the briefcase of dollar-sign bills (because you know real money doesn't look like that) is one of them -- it was the best way I could think of to depict a spammer. And, in all honesty, most members of Anonymous are script-kiddies, trolls, and spammers.

Anyway, while working on this comic, a little joke came to mind based on one of Anonymous's slogans.

I think I needed some sleep.

Also, I do not recommend anyone actually try doing this scheme. It will probably not end well --- if for no other reason than you'd have to get involved with the worldwide spammer cartel, and they don't make very good friends.

Transcription:

Fedora gal: "So, what do you do?"
E2: "I run an online business."
Fedora gal: "What kind?"

E2: "You know those stupid spam messages in your email?"
Fedora gal: "Oh no. Here we go."
E2: "Just hear me out."

"Spammers pay good money for valid email addresses."

"A lot of them use web crawlers to find sites with an email address listed somewhere on it."
"So I play to that angle."
Site: "...someone@example.com"
Crawler: "Hee hee hee. I'm so clever."

E2: "I've set out a site with an email address on it."
"It politely warns its visitors not to put themselves at risk."
"It's such a shame spam bots can't read."
(I'm not transcribing the site text. You'll just have to read it yourself.)
Crawler: "Cool! Twice in one day!"

Fedora gal: "Whoa. It's like a victimless crime."
E2: "Pft. Better. All the victims had it coming. It's vigilante work."

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