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Subliminal Spam Using an Animated GIF

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-are-getting-sleeeeepy dept.


JohnGrahamCumming writes "Everyone's noticed the recent flood of image spam (including the SpamAssassin developers who are working on an OCR-extension to beat it), but take a look at this spam containing a subliminal message flashed every 17 seconds to try to entice you to buy the stock being pumped. Does this work? Warning: link shows the actual spam; don't blame me if you lose money on this stock!"

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That's ridiculous. (5, Funny)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039391)

It's actually a pretty good stock.

Subliminal messages (5, Insightful)

personman21 (762072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039395)

Don't work. This supposed message is so obvious it's hard not to laugh.

Re:Subliminal messages (1)

Stormscape (998750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039488)

That was postively the FUNNIEST subliminal advertising I have ever seen

Re:Subliminal messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039782)


Re:Subliminal messages (2, Interesting)

rritterson (588983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039493)

If you are aware of the message, it's not subliminal--it's just plain liminal.

There is a lot of subliminal messages in advertising, especially on TV. Given our consumerist culture, i'd say it's working fairly well.

Oblig. Simpsons Quote (5, Funny)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039563)

Lisa: But you have recruiting ads on TV. Why do you need subliminal messages?
Smash: It's a three-pronged attack. Subliminal, liminal, and superliminal.
Lisa: Superliminal?
Smash: I'll show you. [opens the window, and shouts at Lenny and Carl, who are standing on the corner] Hey, you! Join the Navy! Carl: Uh, yeah, all right.
Lenny: I'm in.

Must... buy.... (3, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039566)

lightspeed briefs!

Also Doesn't Work (Wikipedia) (2, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039802)

The article on Wikipedia [] is actually pretty good. There may be some transitory or faint effects caused by subliminal messages. Advertisers have been trying to capitalize on this possibility for 49 years.

If subliminal messages had any significant effect we would know about it. They've been trying for years.

There have been interesting claims at subliminal messages in popular music. KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas, used a subliminal message to attempt catch the BTK killer, but it had no perceptible effect.

I'd say subliminal messages don't work.

Re:Also Doesn't Work (Wikipedia) (5, Funny)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039836)

The seemingly random bolding of text in your comment gives me a sudden urge to buy stuff.

Re:Also Doesn't Work (Wikipedia) (1)

Sarisar (842030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039841)

There was a BBC thing where they had a science lab (I think was the phrase, or maybe UK lab or something) where they showed a program and asked people to phone in to see how they responded. They showed a face with a neutral expression and asked you to phone in saying if you thought she was happy or sad.

What they didn't tell you (until the phones had closed) was that they did a subliminal flash of the same woman looking happy south of the country and looking sad in the north.

The results actually suggested that it had worked... kinda. The flash of the smiling woman made you think she was unhappy and vice versa. I can't remember the figures but it was something like a 70/30 split which suggested there was something in it. But they did say it was an interesting result but more testing needed to be done to confirm.

Nope. (5, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039397)

This really has nothing to do with subliminal messages, and everything to do with trying to defeat OCR software. I was seeing animated GIFs exactly like this where the "buy" frames were just blank, before they started adding "BUY!" to those frames.

Re:Nope. (3, Insightful)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039599)

Nah - it's just someone " 'aving a larf " and trying to make their spam stand out for a split-second among all the other spam.

It worked though - even though the original article is slashdotted all of the images have been reproduced here. The spammers must be laughing all the way to the bank...

Re:Nope. (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039750)

I doubt anyone who is looking it at because it was linked from a news article saying "Check out this spam" is actually going to buy it..

Except.... (4, Informative)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039398)

Outlook doesn't support animated gifs (nor most CSS, but that's another matter...!) - I received one of these this morning but all it showed was the 'buy buy buy' frame - my response was 'what an utterly utterly pointless spam'.

Re:Except.... (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039590)

Gmail's picture preview is exactly the same. Only after reading this article did I understand what was going on.

Well... (4, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039400)

Seems to me as if the people behind the spam have been reading a few too many articles about subliminal marketing and are just trying their luck. What i'd be more worried about if I was them would be using an animated gif in massive mailing, surely that is going to heavily suck bandwidth (as much as they do have, a lot of resources go in to the mailing and the hardware to power it). If I were them I'd stick with the text plea, I'm far more likely to want to help out the prince of Nigeria than a 1998-style flashing .gif.

Re:Well... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039416)

What i'd be more worried about if I was them would be using an animated gif in massive mailing, surely that is going to heavily suck bandwidth (as much as they do have, a lot of resources go in to the mailing and the hardware to power it)

The key is, they don't pay for those resources. They use some sort of a "bot-net" to send the mail - "zombie" computers, often on residential broadband connections which have been contaminated with some virus (or something virus-like, trojan, backdoor, et cetera - the specifics matter little). It's not their own bandwidth they're wasting.

Bah (5, Funny)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039402)

Bah. They could have been slightly more subtle. I mean, three frames in a row? For Pete's sake, how stupid do they think we are?

Re:Bah (5, Funny)

CreateWindowEx (630955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039487)

Studies have shown that subliminal advertising, much like the typical slashdot post, is mostly full of it.

Re:Bah (2, Funny)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039747)

This is pure hogwash. Do you always believe everything you read is true? Surely, a person like yourself, i would hope, wouldn't be so gullible. You should make it a point to safeguard against foolish trysts such as that.

Re:Bah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039535)

Oh, I really see what you mean and I believe that all maybe they are willing to is make money, not worry about techniques.

Sorry if I don't make sense, I'm tired and it's not like my lack of logic fucking kill you.

For the impatient (3, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039411)

Here's the four frames extracted.
Main image []
Subliminal image 1 []
Subliminal image 2 []
Subliminal image 3 []

The subliminal images are shown for a fraction of a second every few seconds.

Re:For the impatient (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039468)

Looks like something made by a 15year old in coreldraw.

Well, whoever really spends time to read that godaweful "text" picture deserves to be "brain manipulated"

I was wondering about that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039559)

I read email in KMail (KDE) and out of curiosity I looked at the gif that was attached, and I guess it filtered out the animation so the only thing I saw was the "buy buy buy" stuff. I had no idea what I was supposed to buy so I guess it didn't work.

Re:For the impatient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039654)


Well, I haven't received any yet, but if I do, I'll forward it immediately,
headers and all, to my friends at - I'm sure they'll love it...

Cool, the ideal plan for getting rich! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039709)

1. Create subliminal spam message.
2. (was ???) post it on slashdot so everyone read it
3. Profit!

This spammers are getting smarter and smarter, how can a spam image get to the homepage of such a news site like slashdot?

Re:For the impatient (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039728)

Shhh! If you post the contents of the article like that, it takes the fun out of pretending to have read it!

Block all Images (3, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039412)

OCR is a ridiculous solution. It can be easily combatted by spammers in the same way the CAPTCHA images defeat OCR techniques.

My solution:

For email addresses that are on spam databases, I block all emails that contain images at the MTA level.

Anyone who has good reason to be sending me images will know my non spam-infested address.


Re:Block all Images (2, Insightful)

mkavanagh2 (776662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039445)

CAPTCHA images defeat OCR techniques? To my knowledge most text-image CAPTCHAs don't defeat sophisticated OCR and those that do are hardly likely to be easily readable enough to spam any but the most gullible to any effect.

Re:Block all Images (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039735)

Just today I was thinking (and looked a bit on how to setup an email server on Ubuntu and found a nice howto over the forums) on a way to prevent spam.

I have seen something similar in some emails that, after you send an email they return a mail saying that you need to re-send the email to verify that you are a human. However, I thought that It would be excellent to send this mail with a CAPTCHA and tell the recipent just to hit REPLY and write in the subject of the message the text in the image.

I would use something like that, and of course after the sender has passed the CAPTCHA test, it would be added to a white list. I thik it is a great way to remove spam once and for all. Does anyone know of a web mail provided that does that?

Not subliminal! (4, Insightful)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039419)

I can clearly see the words flash when the .gif animates.

Therefore, it's not subliminal, since the flashed frame is supposed to be imperceptible to the conscious mind.

Re:Not subliminal! (2, Informative)

chriscoolc (954268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039444)

Not to help them out, but next time they need to leave the main text visible in the subliminal images.

Re:Not subliminal! (1)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039465)

Nope, this is just liminal, since you can see it.

They are also toying with superliminal ads like this one:


Re:Not subliminal! (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039556)

Had TFA not told you they'd be there, would you have noticed?

I think in this case, probably yes, but I was waiting for it like you probably were. I think someone actually reading the message (that's to say, the type stupid enough to take stock advice in spam seriously) might just think it was a light flickering.

Re:Not subliminal! (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039577)

Had TFA not told you they'd be there, would you have noticed?

Noticed that the text you are reading dissappears for a very long moment?

Yes of course. When you have to stop reading because the text disappears, I would say it is very noticable.

Re:Not subliminal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039679)

it's not subliminal, since the flashed frame is supposed to be imperceptible to the conscious mind.

Damn you, you're ruining a perfectly good, hit-generating slashdot headline!

Sad Situation (2, Insightful)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039434)

Email spam has turned into an arms race of who can outrun the spam assassin developers. Will flash email be the next big thing? I sure hope not.

Really, the best thing I ever did in my email client was to turn off image loading.

Arizona Web Design []

Re:Sad Situation (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039507)

I sure hope it is. Whoever uses an e-mail client that displays inline Flash deserves to get spammed and malwared to death.

Re:Sad Situation (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039605)

Tell that to the marketing department when they come and bitch at you about the corporate Christmas greeting showing nicely on the computer of the moron contracted to make it "flashy" and not being visible in the corporate email client.

Not quite subliminal (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039453)

How many people would actually sit and look at this image for 17 seconds? It only takes a fraction of a second to realize it's junk.

Did the blogger even READ the wikipedia article linked to? It says "These messages are indiscernible to the conscious mind". I can almost count the number of BUYs in the image.

I bet this is more of an attempt to get around OCR spam detectors that don't support animated gifs.

Interesting (3, Informative)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039458)

  I seriously doubt the capbilities of a GIF to recreate a true subliminal advertisement. It's a bit dependent on the screen position, machine load, audience's focus, etc. With a movie or a a captured TV audience, it's a bit stronger. Also, this isn't a metaphorical allure, but simply a crude flashing.

For some things subliminal messages can work. [] For others, it is well-known to be completely ineffective. []

I doubt this is going to be much of a difference in SPAM, and is rather a sales differentiation point for a mass marketeer. Somebody is paying extra for this, for sure.

Re:Interesting (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039643)

For some things subliminal messages can work. For others, it is well-known to be completely ineffective.

Yeah, it's a pity that Vicary actually falsified the results [] of his now-infamous theatre experiment. Futhermore, I challenge you to provide any real evidence of a controlled, repeated study in which subliminal advertising was actually proven to work. My guess, you can't.

Cause for concern? (1)

gklinger (571901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039460)

The thing about subliminal advertising, as I understand it, is that it needs to be subliminal which is defined as 'existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness' and with the advertising frame in this example being observable by the human eye, it's hardly a threat. However, while this particular example is ridiculously amateurish, it got me to wondering if it is possible for someone who isn't a dolt to create something more insidious and effective. Is there a fixed framerate for animated gifs? If so, what is it? I think the subliminal message would have to occur once every 24 or more frames for it to be effectively invisible. That may not be possible with animated gifs but what about with videos? The sudden popularity of sites like YouTube and the ease with which they make the distribution of unregulated video makes me wonder if there is a cause for concern.

Perhaps people are already embedding messages in their videos. I can think of no other explanation for millions of people watching videos of cats attacking toasters...

Re:Cause for concern? (5, Informative)

parallax (8950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039569)

No, there is no cause for concern.

I did a Ph.D. on the use of preattentive perception (read "subliminal") on just-in-time memory support. This was the "Memory Glasses" project that got a bunch of media attention a few years ago -- you may have even seen me pitching it to Alan Alada on PBS's Scientific American Frontiers "you can make it on your own" [] episode.

The long and short of it is that, yes -- properly encoded, "subliminal messages" can jog your memory, but no, they don't otherwise work as sug,gestions or influence your behavior. If you're curious, you can actually read my dissertation on the Memory Glasses [] and find out more.

There was a lot of hype in the 70's and 80's about the evils of subliminal marketing, but it was all based on junk science with forged data.

I love Firefox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039463)

Right click on offending image. Select 'Block images from [name of server]' - and that's it. Now, if Firefox just had this for Flash files. . .

Re:I love Firefox. (1)

telchine (719345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039489)

Right click on offending image. Select 'Block images from [name of server]' - and that's it. Now, if Firefox just had this for Flash files. . .

The images are unlikely to be on a remote server, they're usually attached to the message.

As for Firefox, there's an extention called FlashBlock

Re:I love Firefox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039564)

If you install adblock for Firefox/Mozilla you can block flash from any server you want.

Block rule*.swf []

As for the right click thingy, well it's almost that simple. Try it and find out.

I don't even bother with the flashblock extension anymore since it creates headaches for the sites that have flash that I would actually want to see.

Slashdot a better spam blocker (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039466)

If only we can just have every one of these things submitted to /. The resulting slashdotting will simply remove their servers. Easy!

New slashdot business model (3, Informative)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039467)

(1) Send out spam using a new technique
(2) Post on slashdot telling people about the spam
(3) Get enormous viewership
(4) Profit!

Just wait for the new Viagra technologies slashdot articles.

Re:New slashdot business model (2, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039521)

Just wait for the new Viagra technologies slashdot articles.

1. Most /.ers are too young to worry about Viagra.
2. Most /.ers are too single to worry about Viagra.

Using a very special algorerythem (patent pending, tm, etc.) I have determined that:
A. There are 12 married /.ers over 40,
B. Four married posters under 40
B. Two guys that are dating (not each other)
C. Two girls who reads Slashdot.

Of course, some AC posts might be from people who really do have accounts, so these numbers may be inflated.

Re:New slashdot business model (4, Funny)

rkcallaghan (858110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039570)

C. Two girls who reads Slashdot.

Given the responses to any post I ever make, I think your estimate is over by one.


Re:New slashdot business model (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039688)

Hi. Do you come here often?

Re:New slashdot business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039724)

I'm a girl and I read Slashdot, though I haven't yet got around to getting an account. Then again, I'm also a mathematician at Cambridge, so I'm pretty weird to start with.


You would have to be ... (1)

-noefordeg- (697342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039470)

sub-human to fall for that.

I'm outraged (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039475)

Neither Mutt nor Pine users get to see these images in their email, I hope that the spammers include a plain text equivilent of the information in the image. What makes these spammers think they can get away with discrimination like this?

They might want to work on... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039479)

... their non-gif stuff. I'm not about to buy a stock which is advertised with multiple exclamation !!! marks. And with incomplete sentences.

Re:They might want to work on... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039534)

... their non-gif stuff. I'm not about to buy a stock which is advertised with multiple exclamation !!! marks. And with incomplete sentences.

I would hope that you wouldn't buy anything that was advertised via spam, regardless of the apparent quality of presentation. However, consider this: a lot of the spam I see is nearly unintelligible, because the intelligible spam already got blocked by my spam filtering.

Re:They might want to work on... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039606)

It might depend on what you consider spam. I get email from nintendo about upcoming products, that I signed up for because I want to get it. Mind you, somebody who registered their GC and didn't read everything, may be getting the messages without really realizing that they signed up for them. They may also not be savvy enough to look for an unsubscribe link. For ther person who's getting this email, and doesn't want to, they see it as spam. For me, it's perfectly legitimate mail.

Re:They might want to work on... (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039704)

Sssh, don't wake them up. It is still a great filter for people not having "intelligent" spam filters. ;)

If message includes "!!!" in subject, move to trash. (If you have friends using !!!, tell them to see a doctor about mania treatment)

Works like wonder on my Yahoo mailbox since filters introduced, it still busts some undetected spam by Yahoo.

For Korean spam, use "3/4" symbol for detecting. Unless you aren't working at Wall Street of course.

BTW those things were added by me before Spam detection etc. was part of Yahoo mail features, poor mans spam filters ;)

What images? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039481)

I use Pine for my email. For those who don't know, it's a text-based email client, primary for unix, but there is a port for windows. Aside from being fast, simple & reliable, it doesn't show fonts, colors, images, and html crap. Since it is so simple, it is extremely secure.

When I show it to people, they often get annoyed that their carefully crafted html email with stationery, images, & fonts gets rendered to simple text.

Frankly, if you can't convey your message with text, you don't have much to say.

Give Pine a try [] . Unfortunately, I think there are only about a dozen users :)

Re:What images? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039508)

Pine remains amazingly popular amongst literate people. Illiterate people can't communicate so they send each other images and youtube links which is why they prefer OE or webmail.

it's not subliminal, it's supraliminal.. (1)

ivar (31153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039486)

Subliminal means that you are not concious of the image, but in this case it's pretty easy to spot. Not to say the ploywon't have any effect, just that use of the word 'subliminal' is incorrect.

Re:it's not subliminal, it's supraliminal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039618)

L.T. LT Smash!

yvan eht nioj!

Re:it's not subliminal, it's supraliminal.. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039656)

What do you want? I don't get your "eht nioj" request.

Re:it's not subliminal, it's supraliminal.. (0, Redundant)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039823)

L.T. LT Smash!
yvan eht nioj!

This is supposed to be a funny reference to a Simposons episode. Mod up funny!

Subliminal (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039491)

Is ment to be non detectable. In this you can clearly see the words Buy all over so there is nothing subliminal going on it is just retarded.

You'll All Be Sorry (1)

SteveTheRed (244567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039495)

You'll all be sorry after I buy loads of this stock first thing tomorrow morning. I'll be lording my millions over all of you by tea-time. I don't what has come over me, but I feel an overpowering desire to dump my entire 401(k) into this.

Doesn't seem to phase dspam (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039520)

After a couple of training messages, dspam is picking these spams (with or without the animated gif) with great accuracy. Even if dspam has no idea what the spam message is saying, these spam messages are sufficiently different from any of my normal e-mail that they stand out very much to the baysian algorithms.

17 Seconds?!? (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039523)

Who looks at a piece of spam for the 17 seconds required to view the 'subliminal' advertising frames?

Re:17 Seconds?!? (1)

bumby (589283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039582)

the few idiots who actually fall for the spam :/

Re:17 Seconds?!? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039746)

Slow readers? There are a lot of people out there surfing the Internet that only read a few words a minute.

Quick... (1)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039531)

... get the Zik Zak Corporation on the phone. I have an advertising idea for them that is, like, 20 minutes into the future!

No, it doesn't. (4, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039533)

> Does it work?

Rarely and barely. Under very controlled conditions, with very careful measurement, a very slight effect which lasts a very short time can sometimes be found. However, most of the conditions under which people attempt to use it are so uncontrolled (ie. the entirety of whatever environment you're in is affecting you) that there'd be no way to detect the usually tiny effect. If anyone claims it has effect in such a situation, they have no clue how it works, and are probably trying to sell advertising to someone who is so desparate that they have even less of a clue.

The reality of the matter doesn't keep it from happening. Greed drives people to try things that would make even a habitual lottery ticket buyer snicker. For many years (and still, as far as I know) advertisers of tobacco and alcohol would have grotesque death images airbrushed into their magazine and billboard ads. This was based on the dual assumption that subliminals work, and Freud's theory that there was a ubiquitous "death wish", and it was stronger and more prone to manipulation in people who used these substances.

We've dispresnsed with the first, given that magazines and billboards are hardly "controlled" environments. Freud dispensed with the second before he died, years before this was ever attempted.

Despite overwhelming odds against it, advertisers still paid to have these images inserted into their ads. I know of one couple who worked at a commercial art house in New York who made $125,000 together in 1978 doing nothing but these. Large corporations will gamble large amounts way out of proportion for any real return just to grab a tenth of a per cent from competitors. John Sculley's biography about his Pepsi days talks about this greed effect (though not subliminals).

The very first "attempt at subliminals" (the "popcorn and Coke" experiment in a movie theater) was a hoax. Like all such material, it is properly filed on, along with the rest of the story. []

Re:No, it doesn't. (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039604)

Do you have any references to information about these hidden images? I have worked for an ad agency, and I know lots of people who work for ad agencies, and never ever has anyone ever actually done an ad with any sort of subliminal images or hidden images or anything like that. Pretty much there is universal agreement that it doesn't work, and it has never been done.

That isn't to say someone hasn't done it... if you could post a link to some documentation, I will keep an open mind... but I am pretty sure all this subliminal advertising stuff is urban mythology. At least it is considered an urban myth to most people in the ad buisness nowadays.

Re:No, it doesn't. (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039759)

Documentation from within an advertisitng company would constitute internal communications. Not working for one, if I had any, it'd probably be illegally and I wouldn't admit to it here. If you work for one, you should realize that, since they hold their ideas to be so dear. I have only my discussions with the couple I know and their word for it that they did it, and for how much.

As for whether anyone has done so, examine tobacco and alcohol ads, primarily in men's magazines between 1970 and 1990, after having brushed up on such books as "The Clam Plate Orgy". Many of them were extremely blatant.

And as for the advertising industry claiming that all such advertising was an urban myth, if I were them that's what I'd be saying by now in those places where it's criticized. In the board room where advertising is sold it might go differently. No offense, but we are discussing the advertising industry here, people who make their living saying what benefits them.

I recommend the Social Psychology Network at
Their search engine turns up 847 results to "subliminal advertising". Some of that is commercial books and pop-psych articles, some is from the bios of researchers and their interests, but some is references to real research that's been done on the topic. I sincerely doubt that much research has been done on something that never happened. After all, when a social psychologist wants to make money, he goes into, or at least does research for, marketing.

Slashdotted? (1)

Viper_Viper (881780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039542)

Why is the beta tag say that the website is slashdotted when it is clearly not? Is this a form of a subliminal message?

Everyone? (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039546)

Everyone's noticed the recent flood of image spam...

I haven't. I can't even remember the last spam message I've seen, period--not even in my throwaway accounts.

Re:Everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039718)

Statistically, one guy like you who stays home all the time, has no friends, and has his very own slashdot account, umm, doesn't count.

But thanks for the input!

Wow, subtle... (1)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039550)

Very impressive...

Seriously though, the idea of subliminal messages in adware etc. might not be that far-fetched, if worked out better. Imagine adware that subtly projects 99.5% translucent stuff over your desktop for very short periods, maybe fading it in and out just so you wont consiously notice it.... Or maybe just a 200 pixel Coca-Cola sign in an unused corner of the screen. Im not so sure its impossible...

Does This Work? (1)

Ed Almos (584864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039552)


Even if it gets past my spam filters the moment I see rubbish like this it gets deleted. If I want stock picks I employ a professional, not a scum sucking spammer.

Ed Almos

Re:Does This Work? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039641)

If I want stock picks I employ a professional, not a scum sucking spammer.

These stock spams aren't meant to benefit YOU, they're meant to pump and dump worthless stocks so the spammers or their customers can make money fast and get out with the clueless buyers holding worthless overpriced stock.

kill flashing gifs (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039555)

I just kill any flashing gifs.

Typically if the site requires flash I skip it. I find it unbeleiveable that Macromedia didn't put in an option to kill unwanted flash. But I guess this says something about the company. So - one day I'll just neuter flash in this browser when I get pissed off enough to do it.

I had to laugh at poking fun at a real estate agent. He has an awful website. I told him if he wants to sell to me then his website isn't doing its job.

One has to hit them where it counts - right in the ole' pocket book. If you're going to do some business then check the website and if it pisses you off then tell them and don't do business with them. Do business with people who you like and who are professional and who hopefully put up websites that reflect their business practices.

Use the same rule with TV advertising. If you hate the company's ad - tell them to stuff it and find another vendor. Even if it costs a few sheckles more, you'll be ahead.

On this basis: FORD, GM, Microsoft, Sears, Black and Decker, and Canadian Tire have lost my business for EVER because of shoddy products and bad service. If after buying the product I find that I feel like going to the effort of suing them for selling me such a peice of junk - then this is a good enough reason to never deal with the vendor ever again.

I have alternatives. Who knows if they will notice. The market place speaks for itself. The way I look at it is that when a vendor ends up on enough people's permanent blacklists, then their business will suffer and eventually they will go away and die.


Hmm - check FORD and GM's stocks! I drive an Audi now. Its nicely engineered and I don't get calls from the service station advising me they will have to pull the motor to change the spark plugs. No kidding... a service station actually did this after they broke plugs on the firewall side of a Chev Eurosport. I managed to change the plugs w/o pulling the motor. It took 2 hours and I found the previous CHEV DEALER'S MECHANIC cross-threaded the plugs because of the bad design. Had they made the car 2" longer there would not have been a problem. They could have made the engine compartment 2" longer and set the bumpers back 2" and the car would have been the same overall length.

So in this case for want of 2" in the engine compartment I had cross threaded plugs and bleeding hands and was threatened with a $1000 ++ spark plug bill. Why would I or anyone else ever want to deal with the company ever again? Not me. Once burned - screw you!

Now look at the GM stocks. See - it works. Vote with your feet!

Re:kill flashing gifs (1)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039800)

GM's stock might have taken a fall in the past few years, but so have many american companies. It's actually been on a short term increase since GM, Toyota and Hyundai where the only auto manufactures to post a net gain, it has not come back from it's glory days five years ago however. Another thing to keep in mind is GM is ranked #3 of the Fortune 500 for a second year running and #1 out of the auto industry (followed closely by Ford). I don't think we will see GM drop out of the market just yet. They are too big of a player, at least in the American arena. There are few places you can ship a car to in the U.S. without passing through a GM distribution hub. However, no one is recommending to buy or sell their stock right now.

This does not mean they make a good product or have great service. I can only say from my experience their trucks run very well, though I have only ever worked on them myself and have no experience with their service... which I'll take your word for it, it probably sucks, just like any other auto dealer service desk.

ob family guy reference (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039589)


Does it work? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039602)

Ok...we all know how creative and inventive spammers have gotten, and yes, I realize it only takes a couple of idiots to make it profitable...but come REALLY have to wonder WHO IN THE HELL IS BUYING INTO THIS?!

Honestly, not only is a lot of the spam completely unintelligible, but it just looks so phony its hard not to laugh. Does anybody on /. personally know anybody who's actually purchased something from spam? What about the really bad retarded spam like this?

I know I should never underestimate the stupidity of humanity...but I really have no idea how someone could literally be stupid enough to buy something from one of these, yet smart enough to be able to fill in the credit card form required to give the spammer money. Please, explain that last one to me.

mutt email = immunity (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039631)

this is one of the reasons why I still use mutt - don't have to look at the images/attachments unless I choose to

I've used outlook, eudora, hotmail, gmail, yahoomail, squirrelmail, webmail, pine, mm ...

and I still always come back to mutt. I get to control it, archive it, its fast easy, and completely immune to this kids of spamming.

Mirror (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039639)

Mirror []

IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039640)

"if you lose money on this stock"?? Boy you're being www..

As the SCO stock ppl would say... (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039644)

Short TMXO now!

Ironically, I read an article about a guy who started shorting all the spam stocks that he got, and made $8000 in 2 weeks worth of trading. Personally I would neither short nor buy any stock I heard about from spam.

Most successful ever (3, Insightful)

dcapel (913969) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039662)

That piece of spam is possibly the most cost-effective individual piece of spam ever: the spammer sent it to one person and gets 25000+ views of it instead.

It'll never work (1, Redundant)

kissbang (976051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039676)

SubliMinally selling stOck this way Does not have much of a chance TO succeed. I mean, I can think of maybe only *5* people who would fall for these types of subconscious messages on the internet.

Subliminal messages (1)

kolme (981304) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039706)

Everyone knows that [mod this up] subliminal messages [mod this up] don't work!

Sublimal Advertizing (1)

wmaster (987425) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039710)

Well, is that sublimal: no girl [] ? ;-) Greetings, Chris

Nope haven't noticed (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039716)

Nope, haven't noticed at all. I have image loading turned off by default.

pathetic (1)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039739)

Stop image spam [] in Thunderbird. Or use pine or something else text based. Does anyone know of a adblock like extension fith a filterset updater for spam - so many of us get the same damn spam something like this would be useful.

Have to give it to these guys +1 for creativity -783,114,039,832 for implementation. YOU LOSE!

Graphical SPAM? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039773)

Bah! I use pine or mutt for most of my e-mail. Combined with spamassassin so most of the crap gets plonked before I have to see it.


subliminal? (1)

kbox (980541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039786)

It's not really subliminal if it screams "I'M BEING SUBLIMINAL!"

All spam has subliminal messages... (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039797)'s just that you need special glasses [] to see what's going on.

nothing subliminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039842)

i dont see anything subliminal about it
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