Friday, June 16, 2006

Don't read your e-mail either

While we’re on the subject of viral marketing, I’m going to throw out the hypothesis that most of those cute, interesting, or joke, mass e-mails we get everyday are actually part of viral marketing schemes. For example, remember this one:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Well it turns out to be only partially true. And it comes from some pretty obscure research. So why did it get circulated? Here’s a possible explanation—it was a way to prepare the marketplace for the onslaught of spam e-mails that got around filters by scrambling the letters.
I can’t prove this, but it makes sense. And that’s good enough for a conspiracy theory. Please pass this meme along.

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