You may have heard about the animated gif spam that's going around with "subliminal" advertising in it. I caught someone's blog who took it apart, frame by frame, recently, trying to figure out what was going on. Can't find that now, so the following will have to do:

On opening the email, instead of the usual static .gif with text on it (which helps to evade spam filters); the .gif was animated. The first frame was set to around 1/10th of a second and simply had the words "buy" in large fonts in different colors scattered about the image at various angles. Certainly grabbed my attention, but not because I'm interested in stocks - it just was the flash effect.

Perhaps it was a poor attempt at subliminal advertising?

Finally got it today, as it somehow slipped through the spam filter, and it went through the flash as I started to hit "Junk". Would have gone into "junk" too if it hadn't been for the viral marketing via blogs that I'd accidentally caught wind of; the purple font was quickly recognizable. The companion viral response to this otherwise very plain piece of spam is, in itself, remarkable.

In fact it's the very non-subliminal -- may I say superliminal? -- part of the flash that seems to attract people to it like flies to flames. Ur, moths. We see and register the "BUY!"'s that are flying around. We see the manipulation and are intrigued. This is a "new" manipulation that some people find horribly interesting. Personally I don't.

What I find interesting is the spam-poetry again. Messages bypass spam filters through clever text, not because the message's gif holds text within the image and thereby bypassing OCR-spam detection mechanisms. Who is heaven's name is sending you a legitimate gif with text in email? The words "buy" or an image with text in it by itself are still spam. I guess it's a neat trick to hide the spam text in the image, but it's still the poetry that evades the filter. [Perhaps I should try slapping old poetry into emails with Viagara commercials and see how much slips through.]

He had a large fame, but it was subterranean.
Brusque letters from businessmen beginning, What do youguys think youre up to? I mean a moregeneral idealistic association, more spiels about freedom anddemocracy. Hes one of the very cleverest and most influential men in thewhole world of welfare-promotion!
Bitteryused to favor lynching agnostics and now favors lynchingsocialists.
Then theresthe class that gives from a kind of restless feeling that theyought to be useful. In all her dissertations occurred the face-saving phrases: Oh,just a second.
Its the deepest and richest mine in the country, and yet ithasnt hardly been prospected. It is a shame for women not to speak in thechurch. He thinks that having methere on the board as his stooge is enough. Im not going to work for Soapy Ernie in that factory forever.
Average American the happiest and prettiest human being that hadever existed. But what are you doing with these people, Gid?
It was interested in helping out fifty differentcharities.
It had kept him outof any race for the State Legislature, the national Congress.
Just let me speak of this,and then Ill shut up. Hes one of the very cleverest and most influential men in thewhole world of welfare-promotion!
Pathetic letters from old ladies about ancestral firsteditions of Robert J. Years of leadership and of oratory enabled Dr. They had a home now, and they were only a step or two from glory.
It was interested in helping out fifty differentcharities. Her only trouble is that she read her Scriptures wrong.
On the plaza of the deskwas one calla lily and a signed photograph of Lord Beaverbrook.
They had a home now, and they were only a step or two from glory. Trying to trap her own mother by saying things like that!

Thanks, email claiming to be from Beautiful. ;^)