Improve your Health and Enjoy your Life: The Engaging Messages of Medical Spam

July 14, 2008 at 8:35 pm 1 comment

Messages of health, happiness, and longevity. Who could resist?

When I peruse my spam folder, I am struck by the creatively crafted and enticing subject lines promising me doctor-approved help; that I can bypass doctors forever; that my doctor is hiding cures from me; or that I can buy a list of every doctor and dentist in the US. Of course, these messages are mixed in with those offering me new academic credentials or Rolex watches, or written in languages I can’t even identify. Interestingly, with the exception of creative misspellings of pharmaceuticals, the health spam tends to be spelled accurately, unlike the educational messages.

Here are some recent eye-catching subject lines:

  1. Improve your health and enjoy your life!
  2. Your last chance to become healthier
  3. The latest developments in medical science
  4. Relieve yourself from health problems
  5. What They Don’t Want You to Know What it Does to Your Body!
  6. 300,000 People die every year in USA of Obesity ….. Are you Next ???
  7. Never have to see a doctor to get a prescription again
  8. Get filled with health and gladness!
  9. Stop suffering from diseases!
  10. Dont let paim and ilness happen in your life.

I wonder how many people are enticed by this medical spam, bypassing their common sense. Clearly this is a problem with some documented cases of people who purchased online degrees, as described in Degrees by Mail: Look What You Can Buy for only $499. I especially worry about how medical spam might attract people with poor information literacy skills who are not healthy and want easy solutions.

Entry filed under: health. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mike Gualtieri  |  July 14, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    If I got an email that claimed to have a miracle cure for Plantar Fasciatis then I would read it and want to believe it.

    Reply

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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu

@lisagualtieri


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