Internet Spamhaven

By Chris Meadows.

The man sat behind a desk in a darkened room, where the only source of light was a bluely-glowing computer display screen that painted his face a ghastly pale color and sent weird shadows dancing on the wall behind him.

The room was silent save for the clatter of keys as the man typed, and for the occasional chuckle as the man looked at what he was writing.

> Dear Sir or Madam,
>      Hello!  Do you want to experience how it feels like in heaven?

It had been almost by accident that he, Kenny Smids, had stumbled onto the formula. It had all started with Canter & Siegel, the so-called "green card lawyers." That first, primordial spam had had an incredibly wide-reaching effect -- that one little advertisement had been a shot heard literally 'round the world. That was what had originally caught his attention.

Once his eye had been caught, Smids had only to look a little further before realizing that there had to be something more to it than just advertisement. He began to look at other well-known spammers, such as Stanford Wallace's Cyberpromo, the Woodside Literary Agency, or Terri DiSisto's tickling website. Somehow these concerns managed to survive, even to thrive, despite the efforts of large portions of the Internet community to shut them down.

It had gotten Kenny to researching, then to thinking, then to designing what could only be thought of as the ultimate Feng Shui site. All those others, who were concentrating solely on geographical manipulation, were oh so sadly misguided. The real power lay on a much smaller scale -- or on a much larger. Where electrons dancedÉ

>      At the bottom of our main page, we have a free sweepstake that
> anyone can join.  Just sign up for our sweepstake so you may win one
> out of thousands of different big prizes!

Kenny was convinced that he was the first to discover this principle, at least in the present day. The Architects might know about it in the future time, he wasn't sure, but the Ascended clearly did not. Or if they did, their attempts to take advantage of it had been sadly ineffectual. The "clipper chip"... the "Communication Decency Act"... bah. Although that new post office web kiosk program might be something... he would have to research it.

What those predecessors had done by accident, Kenny proposed to do by design. The secret lay in designing and configuring your building and local node just so, making it a Feng Shui site within a Feng Shui site. Then, bring massive amounts of traffic into it, and as the information moved, as the electrons agitated, the node would become a lens, gathering and concentrating and focussing the Feng Shui from all over the Internet, turning the entire wired world into one gigantic Feng Shui site.

>      Also, just buy movies to become our customers, and we will
> deliver a $100 coupon with your order for future movie purchases from
> our movie collections

Toward that end, the easiest thing to do was to host an adult website, and to post a spam about it. No matter what happened then, it would serve his design. Both the web hits from pornomaniacs, and the indignant complaints to the postmaster would serve their purpose. He would become one of the most powerful men on earth!

>      Remember: not .com, not .net, but .cc
> Please type "Remove" in the subject line when reply to remove from our
> mailing list!

That last line was a touch of genius, Smids thought. Even those people who simply decided to remove their names from the list would still generate that little increment of power he needed. Smids hit "send," then leaned back in his seat. Life... was good. Very good.

Then the great double-doors to his office slammed open, and a figure stood silhouetted in the bright light from beyond. "What...who the hell are you, and how did you get past my guards?!" Smids sputtered.

"You should find better help." The figure reached up, pushing back the broad-brimmed hat that covered his head. "Some call me Cancelmoose. Some call me Kibo. Some even call me the Warlord. Who I am doesn't matter." He hitched back the long duster he was wearing, revealing the gleaming pistols holstered at his side. "You've spammed the wrong people, Smids. Your message is cancelled."

Smids grabbed the Mac-10 holstered under his desk. "Well, whoever you are, you'll die just as easily as -- " Smids was cut off by a flying kick to his solar plexus -- the figure moved deceptively fast for all his accouterment.

Smids staggered back, bringing up his gun and spraying the room with automatic weapons fire. Sparks flew as bullets pockmarked the wall, and the monitor on his desk blew out in a flash of light--but the figure was nowhere to be found. "Damn you, you'll pay for that!" Smids hissed.

"I doubt that," a voice said from behind his left ear, as a hand cuffed him from behind and sent him sprawling.

Smids reeled back against his desk, hand reaching for something, anything, coming in contact with his pen and pencil can. He grabbed it, threw it at the figure as a distraction, then fired his gun again. The figure dodged deftly, and Smids's gun clicked on empty.

The figure drew the chromed Desert Eagles from beneath his duster. "Like I said... cancelled." The thunder of the two big guns was almost deafening in the enclosed space, and it was the last sound that Smids ever heard.

The shells tinkled on the floor, and the figure moved over to Smids's body, nudged it with his toe. He nodded to himself, satisfied, then moved out into the hall, where there was a flurry of activity. A group of scruffy-looking men and women were placing explosives every ten yards, while some others were spraypainting Anarchy symbols on the walls. The chanted shout of, "Blow stuff up! Blow stuff up!" echoed through the corridor.

The figure nodded once more, and touched the brim of his cap in salute to his momentary comrades-in-arms. This entire building would be destroyed, and with it would go the secret of Internet Feng Shui harvesting -- at least until someone else discovered it. All in all, it had been a good day's work...but he knew he was needed elsewhere. Turning, he strode off into the night...

Internet Spamhaven

The Internet Spamhaven is a Feng Shui site within a Feng Shui site. The building within which it is to be built must be a site in its own right, and must be carefully wired with electricity (if it doesn't have any) and phone/ethernet cables to fulfil a specific pattern while not destroying the Feng Shui attunment properties of the site itself.

Once this is done, a server of some sort must be set up within, running Unix of some sort (Linux seems to work the best for these purposes, though no one is exactly certain why), and connected to the Internet via a T1 or T3 line. Once this is done, the more traffic that flows through the site, the more Feng Shui it provides -- up to three times as much Feng Shui as any one "normal" site, depending on the level of traffic.

This cannot be just any traffic -- it must be traffic with intent. That is, subscribing to a few dozen listservers won't work; the traffic must be in direct response to email or usenet traffic originating from the site. Email spamming is the easiest way to make such a site work, but there may be other ways, with other attunement benefits. (For instance, coordinating a free software project vis a vis "The Cathedral and the Bazaar.")

Attunement Benefits

The Internet Spamhaven is next to impossible to disconnect from the rest of the Internet, no matter how hard people try via "legitimate" means. As soon as one trunk is cut off, another all but grows in its place. The only way to stop its spam flow is to attune to it oneself and take control, or else to burn the site.

To attune to the Spamhaven with the permission of the current owner, one must be given an account on its server (hacking it doesn't work).

Benefits of attunment include the possible extra Feng Shui points, and the ability to obtain an Internet connection within a matter of minutes or hours in any place on Earth that is wired for the Internet. Non-spamming Spamhavens may have different attunement benefits.

Last modified: February 21, 1998; please send comments to