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April 22, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: 'Spam' side effect in Gmail

Spam Alexander Benenson writes in:

Google's Gmail shows ads based on keywords in the message you’re viewing. Apparently even if you aren’t viewing a message, Gmail will still try to show something related to what you’re looking at.

In this example, even though my Spam folder is empty, Google helpfully shows me a recipe for Spam, presumably because the folder I’m viewing is called “Spam." I think this gives Spam (the food) an unfair advantage, since the folder name “Spam” is pre-defined by Google.

Maybe they should let users change the “Spam” folder name to some other processed foodstuff?

[Note the category of this post... yes, we know it's all in good fun :)  -mh]


I think Spam could use all the positive advertising it can get, after what that word has been through.

Posted by: gmangw at April 22, 2006 12:11 AM

Where google is good for "googling", I think this is a bit too "intuitive". I'm not shouting "Big Brother", but it is broken!

Anyway, how was the salad?

Posted by: BleuCheesePlease at April 22, 2006 12:11 AM

Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam...time to spam the messages with spam...

Posted by: Bobbers at April 22, 2006 12:12 AM

I've had my "Treet", "Potted Possum", and "McNugget" folders setup for ages, but those monikers never really caught on like "Spam"

Posted by: abcdario at April 22, 2006 12:19 AM

I'm pretty sure they do that on purpose, to be funny. A lot of the results that come up on the spam page are also a Spam recipes RSS feed. I imagine it's a way to keep Hormel off their back by giving their much maligned trademark a bit of a boost.

So I'd say it's not broken.

Posted by: Grant Hutchins at April 22, 2006 01:36 AM

awww, Grant. Didn't we have a good thing going? Having some fun, telling some jokes. And you were right there with us: "much maligned trademark a bit of a boost" has a great ring to it. Then you had to add that tired "Not Broken" onto the end of it and throw us off our game.

Remember kids: the jokes stop when the "Not Broken"s start flying. A lesson for us all.

Posted by: abcdario at April 22, 2006 01:52 AM

Well, it could be a lot worse. They could give ads based on the e-mail titles. Spamusement fans, along with every other e-mail user, knows just how silly and/or disturbing these message titles can be.

Posted by: Benjamin at April 22, 2006 04:40 AM

This behavior is intentional. At Google we call this "humor". :-/

Posted by: Kenton at April 22, 2006 07:06 AM

whats also broken, that i noticed this morning, is that when you want to post here, you don't have to put your real email address down, just any old thing will do. So why ask for one in the first place? (ok, i will fisnish my coffee now).

Posted by: tictic at April 22, 2006 08:00 AM

Yeah, tictic, all it needs is an @ and a . with characters before and after each.

The worst Google contextual ad I saw was an eBay "Tsunami Relief for sale! Great deals on new and used tsunami relief!"

Anyone else in a profiteering mood today?

Posted by: =David at April 22, 2006 08:51 AM

GMail is still the best mail service on the internet.

Posted by: someone at April 22, 2006 10:17 AM's almost like we asked for that spam with this conversation...except we didn't.

Geez, that's not even a well-programmed spam robot...

Posted by: =David at April 22, 2006 10:17 AM

wow... I got "Spam Imperial Tortilla Sandwiches "

Posted by: Horatio at April 22, 2006 11:30 AM

What's broken is the way they spelled Hurray. If you look at the bottom right of the picture there is text saying "Hooray, no spam here".

Another thing. It says: "Messages that have been in Spam for more than 30 days....." is broken. I mean Messages can't be in spam. you can mix spam with other foodstuffs but you certainly can't mix it with messages. god knows what messages are anyway.

Posted by: Jweez at April 22, 2006 11:48 AM

"hooray" is the normal spelling. Get a dictionary.

Posted by: gmangw at April 22, 2006 12:18 PM


Based on the rest of Jweez's comment, I have a feeling he was probably joking...and meant to type "Hurry..." Whatever.

Also, "Hooray" is the normal spelling in America...maybe in Britain it's different? After all, they do spell "hiccup" as "hiccough" and "color" as "colour"...maybe Jweez meant exactly what he said.

Posted by: =David at April 22, 2006 01:39 PM

Why does is say, "Hooray, no spam here!" in the first place? They could have just put something like, "Folder Empty"

Posted by: joe at April 22, 2006 03:05 PM

That'd be funny if somone sent you a spam message advertising spam.

Posted by: bob at April 22, 2006 03:07 PM

I don't think this gives Spam an unfair advantage. Have you seen some of the recipes that show up? Just the names are enough to put you off Spam for the rest of your life.

Posted by: Jeff at April 22, 2006 03:19 PM

I was reading through the comments and couldn't help but grin when I saw the message under the last one, "Let us know if you see any spam or other inappropriate comments: broken at Tell us what page this is, and why the comment is inappropriate."

Posted by: Nanashi at April 22, 2006 03:33 PM

haha, good one =David!!

Posted by: tic tic at April 22, 2006 05:17 PM

"Why does is say, "Hooray, no spam here!" in the first place? They could have just put something like, "Folder Empty""

Unless you're joking, it's to lighten up your email. Same reason they put ways to recycle trash at the top of the Trash folder.

As for Hurray, it can be spelled lots of different ways. Maybe regional.

Try Googling some odd searches and see whether funny ads come up on the right side.

Posted by: Fuzzy at April 22, 2006 08:39 PM

These are "Spam Recipies". Google made a joke about SPAM!! lolololololololol get it?

Posted by: NCeJ at April 23, 2006 01:38 AM

_@_v - speaking of spammers... they're now spamming the guestbooks in personal webpages. how broken can your product or service be that you have to hope for traffic from guestbooks?

Posted by: shesnailie_@_v at April 23, 2006 09:36 PM

I googled "Hurray", and it asked me if I meant "Hooray" - go figure.

Posted by: Wendy at April 24, 2006 11:12 AM

Did someone say 'crunchy frogs'? No? Well, they are just great. Also try the 'spring-surprise'.

Bloody vikings.

Posted by: Spam spam baked beans tomato and spam at April 24, 2006 04:00 PM

This may elicit a chorus of "I knew that you ninny" out there, but you CAN turn off the web clip feature and avoid seeing SPAM spam ads. Just look in your gmail settings.

Posted by: willf at April 25, 2006 02:04 PM

I don't think this is broken.

The word on the street is that RecipeSource has a deal with Google to display those ads.

The other funny thing is that when a user clicks on the GMail Trash folder, recycling tips and facts are displayed instead of ads.

Posted by: Stephen at April 25, 2006 05:31 PM

I think 'Hurrah' is the proper spelling, and it has degenerated to 'Hooray'.

Posted by: Gamer_2k4 at May 2, 2006 04:26 PM

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