Could you please do free work for us?

Beyond the normal 100 emails a day this past week I am being deluged with letters along the lines of "we want to sell stuff to your students/colleagues so can you please give us their addresses or send this marketing broschure - 2 MB - on to them?".

I was doing delete+ignore on most of them, the ones that were vaguely useful (i.e. "we want to hire an excellent student for a pittance") I passed on, chuckling to myself that they can't even get excellent students for good money, because they *all* *have* *jobs* right now. Really.

Others are more along the lines of "We have this great information site on X that you will surely want to look at". I answered one of them, addressed to me with my name misspelled and and saying they respected my research in area Y (I am actually in field F, very, very far away from Y) and thought I would like to look over their new materials at this site and to tell them what I think.

I answered that I had thought this was a respectable company and was shocked that they were resorting to marketing methods that smell like spam. But if they wanted to, I would do an analysis of their site for them for 800 € and they should just check back with me to set up a contract and a date.

They did answer and declined. I apparently was in their data base by mistake. Drat. That would have been easily earned money.

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