How to Get a Doctorate in Six Weeks

I assume this is only a coincidence but still, it’s a good one.

Shortly after putting out the first half of our “Freakonomics Goes to College” podcast, which included a segment on the market for fake diplomas from counterfeiters and diploma mills, I got the following piece of spam. It appears to be from a Norwegian e-mail domain:

And here’s the offer:

I hope they also give you a fake grammar course to go with the fake diploma. This is one of the worst-written pieces of spam I’ve ever read — and it’s not even from Nigeria!

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  1. B says:

    I think that’s actually very well written for spam. Heck, it’s better written than some work emails I’ve received.

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  2. Steve says:

    That’s actually one of the best written and most comprehensible pieces of spam I’ve ever read.

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  3. Seminymous Coward says:

    What makes you think it isn’t from Nigeria? The from address on an email is exactly as certain as the return address on a letter.

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  4. Tony says:

    Not to mention the phone number is a US number! So quit giving Norway a hard time.

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  5. Mac says:

    It is a bold move for the clothing company stormberg to go into the (fake) university business, but if you are standing still, you are falling behind, and it seems to be lucrative business =) (on a more serious the note: the Norwegian terrorist Anders Bering Breivik actually financed part of his operation with false diplomas.)

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  6. Andreas says:

    A quick search for the address reveals that, although the name of the “owner” seems to change frequently, he/she should be able to provide with a Rolex replica as well to go with the increased salary.

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  7. Nate says:

    What about the recent research that suggests that (contrary to intuition) spam tends to be poorly written and outlandish because it’s more effective that way? e.g. Spam works because the most gullible people respond to it. People who would discount an offer because of grammatical errors or seemingly ludicrous claims are not in the target demographic — they need to be weeded out.

    If you were NOT a college graduate, and were a person who believed that you could get a university degree in just four weeks, would you even notice spelling/grammar issues? The spam author would get the most lucrative results by getting those people to self identify.

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  8. Jay says:

    School starts next week– only three years left until my PhD. For one glorious second, I hoped Dubner had found a shortcut. If I’ve learned anything from reading Dubner’s articles, though, it’s to read to the end of the article before deciding to quit your job and withdraw from all your classes. Then again, maybe Australia has discovered a trans-poo-sion that will make me smarter…

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