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5 emails everyone has received at least once in their life

Email is as old as the internet.

In fact, it predates it by a wide margin.

For many of us, opening an email account was our first exposure to the medium, which would, in many ways, eventually take over our lives.

This is a common experience among people born before 1995, as will be most of the emails on this list:

5 emails everyone has received at least once in their life


1) Mum’s really long subject line email

long subject line

Mums, historically, have had a tough time with all internet activities. From holding long, drawn out conversations in public comments sections to forwarding terrible comic strips and videos, the world wide web has remained a baffling maze for everyone’s mum to this very day.


But we’ll never tell them that.

Differentiating between the subject line and body of an email, in particular, has proven to be a difficult concept for our mums to wrap their sweet old heads around.

An email made up of a long subject line outlining the message mum wished to convey, attached to an email containing no text whatsoever has been a staple for internet mums for well over two decades.

Upon receiving such an email, we are left with two options: Lovingly shake our heads and ignore the faux pas. Or point it out in the nicest way we can think of. In either case, the issue is 99.8% guaranteed to reoccur.

2) The Nigerian Prince

Image credit: CBC


Ah yes, the infamous “Nigerian Prince” email scam.

Nothing inspires confidence or opens wallets quite like a Nigerian Prince.

You see, this poor fellow has inherited a large sum of money, but, due to the unexplainable intricacies of the Nigerian banking system, he is unable to access it at the moment.

All he needs are our bank details and/or a small fee to get the money tap pouring again. We will, of course, be handsomely rewarded for our efforts.

Sounds legit, right?

It must.

Nigerian email scams made over $12.7 billion USD in 2013, which is pretty impressive, if you consider the fact that the same scam has been running for well over a decade and was debunked as fraud ages ago.

Africa is by no means the only place where this happens, but we can pretty much guarantee that everyone has heard from one of its citizens at least once.

3) Boner pills

Image credit: NBC


It is safe to assume that this email is typically aimed at male internet users, but the purveyors of knock off medications have plenty to offer to the fairer sex as well.

Thing is, imitation medications are often chemically identical to their name brand counterparts, and incidents of such medications being dangerous are rare.

But they do happen.

So why would anyone take the chance?

Because people are stingy, that’s why.

Knock off medications, including Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis (the most commonly sold internet medications) are on offer for a fraction of what they cost in Europe and North America. And many find the prices too tempting to pass up.

As a result, “online pharmacies” are big business.

In a study conducted in the Netherlands, over 60% of the sildenafil (Viagra) typically consumed nationwide was found to have been obtained from such sources.

Scary stuff.

And where is the best place to obtain email addresses for people interested in such products?

You guessed it- from pornography websites! (Which is also big business, so we are told.)

The symbiotic relationship between the online porn business and the online pharmacy business has been lucrative indeed, which is why pretty much everyone who has ever viewed porn online has been emailed at least once with offers of cheap medications.

What a world!

4) Broken English subject line

The internet, just in case you hadn’t heard, is now global!

And so is spam.

Which is why we have all received emails with subject lines written in broken, barely discernible English at least once.

“Very discount mega opportunity for lucky time!”

Frankly, we here at Phrasee find such prose to be fascinating, and think it’s an email marketing opportunity yet to have been fully tapped.

Also, communicating in a second language, broken or not, is always an impressive feat.

And, you still get the gist of the message, right?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox


5) The newsletter you never signed up for

Did you ever sign your friends up for strange online newsletters before?

You should.

We have.

It’s fun.

Email as a whole is rife with newsletters. From the weekly to the monthly, the interesting to the obscure, everyone and their dog (pretty much) has a newsletter these days.

But, how to get it out there? How to get as many eyes as possible on their work in the hopes that some small percentage will be interested?

There are ways.

Does this type of marketing work?

Not really.

But it must, sometimes…

It seems that the key is to make the “unsubscribe” process as convoluted as possible, thus keeping mailing lists robust in the hopes that we recipients will change our minds, or give up in frustration and just read the darn thing.

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