Do you get these emails?

Every so often I get emails to my old school account that begin

Dear Professor Dr. M. Cutts

Taking in mind your valuated achievements in mathematics, it is a pleasure
for us to invite you to publish a work in “International Journal of Pure
and Applied Mathematics”.

I never finished my Ph.D. because I stopped working on it to join Google. So I’m not Dr. M. Cutts, Professor M. Cutts, and certainly not Professor Dr. M. Cutts.

Does anyone else get these? Has any else followed up on these emails to figure out what’s going on behind these emails?

43 Responses to Do you get these emails? (Leave a comment)

  1. Yes, I get messages like that in a Gmail account. They are not really spam. It seems somebody confused or tried to guess somebody else e-mail address. I suspect that Gmail auto-complete function is helping to make this happen.

    Usually I just reply and I tell them that I am not the person they though that mailed. Often I get what seems to be a sincere apology. That is why I think it is not really spam.

  2. This reminds me of an old scam. My dad used to get these letters in the snail mail (he is also a Dr). Often they would simply ask for a short bio.

    Apparently they do actually put together the book. They then send another message asking if you would like to purchase the book, hoping that most people would want to see their name in print and fork out a pile of money to receive a copy.

    Usually they have simply scoured the phone book for Drs, or at best, an online archive of publications. The process is not exactly discerning.

  3. Never received an email like this. But, without doubt this should be spam.

    There is however, the “International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics”

  4. I’m not sure about that one but I get similar ones that look like conference invitations. I’m quite sure yours is a solicitation for vanity publishing, i.e., it will turn out that you can publish whatever “research” you have in their “journal” if you pay them to print it.

  5. You think you are in something ‘famous’ they get free content.

  6. It beats the usual invitation to increase the size of your manhood! I’m an academic and rarely get such unsolicited invitations, even though my e mail has been listed in various public directories in various academic institutions.

    Perhaps this type of spammer could do a bit more specific targeting…

  7. Haven’t seen anything like it before….

  8. I guess they´re looking for people to create free content for them.

  9. I guess if the email “hits” the right spot for some people in terms of their academic achievements or some other demographic then it has more chance of being considered. Try having the initials DR lol

  10. I get every sort of spam that ever existed, but I don’t get this type of message. The “Professor Dr.” thing sounds German. Aha, the journal is in Bulgaria, not Germany, but maybe the writer studied in Germany.

    This sounds like somebody got hold of an old email list and has no process for cleaning it up. When doing email marketing people need to detect and purge bad or irrelevant addresses. It happens in the real world too. 🙂 I still get mail for the former owner of my house, who died (sadly) 10 years ago.

  11. Occasionally. I fill in surveys as “The Right Reverend Lucifer Beezlebub”, so I know what’s junk mail and what’s not 😉

  12. I get something similar many times daily through my Gmail account.
    I am privy to all sorts of sometimes interesting conversations between what appears to be professors at schools in what appears to be Isreal, as well as an Isreali familys personal communications – complete with family photos.
    Some is in English – some is not.

    In my case these emails seem to be legit. it seems that Gmail cannot distinguish between “x . xxxx . gmail .com” and “xxxxx . gmail .com”.

    I signed up for my gmail account way back when you had to have an ‘invitation’ . At the time I signed up – the format that Gmail suggested for my email address was “x . xxxx . gmail .com” – so that is what I chose.

    Since then I have found that the first ” . ” is ignored – so I get mail addressed to “x . xxxx .gmail .com” AND “xxxxx . gmail .com”. 🙁

    I must assume these other people also get my email. I Don’t use gmail for anything important anymore as a result.

  13. Here in Austria people love Titles. So very often people are getting titled (especially in Viennas Coffee Houses) when entering a grocery, bakery … Good morning Mr. Dr. Or the Dr.s wife is always named Ms. Dr. So maybe they try to enter doors cause some people might feel quite well when receiving mails like that.

  14. I rarely get emails that start Dr. Professor, and I do teach at a college level.

  15. Hi Matt,

    Along with the other spam emails,
    “Like: You won $3000000…. Claim Your [Something Valuable] etc”
    I have got some emails which looks close to what you described.

    Matt, I Think: If a person really is legit who really want to offer something which is mentioned in the email you shown, then he/she probably would know whether you are Matt Cutts or Dr. Matt Cutts:)

    From the very start, this [to me] looks a spam email.
    [Dear Professor Dr. M. Cutts]


  16. Sounds like one of your old school contacts (maybe even your school) sold you out.

    I belong to a school honor society. They sold my name, number, email address, and address to a variety of folks. Talk about aggrivating.

  17. Sounds like a variation on the “who’s who” dodge or the vanity-publishing dodge. They’re looking for you to pay to have your own work published.

    Both work to build you up, tell you you’re really great, and they offer to reward your greatness.

    One does it by giving you a listing in a supposed “who’s who” volume with a bunch of other nobodies. The other offers to publish your book. There are fees and charges. Extra costs. Do you want your “who’s who” listing to be longer than four lines? Costs extra. Do you want an editor to review your text? Pay more. Do you want the deluxe edition? Add some more dollars.

    And oh, by the way, if you want a copy of the “who’s who” volume you’re in, it will cost you $50–there are no comp copies. If you want a copy of your book, it will be $29.95 (a lot more than the cost of the cheap print-on-demand printing they’re using is worth, and more than it would cost from a traditional publisher). And don’t you want a whole lot of the volumes for your loved ones, too, so they can share in your greatness? Here’s the invoice.

    One of the tip-offs to the suspiciousness is the word “valuated.” That’s a non-standard use of the word.

    Confirming my suspicions that is a variation on the pay-to-be-published scams is a mention in this link of the same wording:

    That’s the blog of Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, a legitimate science fiction editor who has done great works in uncovering and uprooting the various publishing scams out there. (She’s also the community moderator at Boing Boing.)

    According to one of the commenters (a good bunch), the journal in question charges $10 a page for publishing your work. Look for the word “journal” in the thread to uncover a few more thoughts about the scam.

  18. Yes, at my .edu email constantly.

    They did a good job on your name though, the ones I get my name is usually butchered pretty bad.

    Never got a Professor Doctor one, they must hold you in pretty high regard!

  19. I replied and was told to help transfer money for a Nigerian bank.

    I am hoping to make a big profit from this.

    Thanks Matt!

  20. “Has any else followed up on these emails to figure out what’s going on behind these emails?”… ‘Professor Dr. M. Cutts’, you sound like you may be “interestedings” (

  21. “Has any else followed up on these emails to figure out what’s going on behind these emails?” – Maybe that’s the trick Matt… when you dispute, you get signed up to a ton of junk email

  22. It may not be a scam. I get invited to a lot of conferences that I’m sure take place. Top-tier conferences don’t need to market themselves aggressively just to get participants–the hard work is in recruiting reviewers, keynote speakers, and sponsors. But there are a lot of non-top-tier venues, and some of them take a shotgun marketing approach just to get submissions. Think of it as a higher grade of spam. 🙂

  23. I’ve never gotten anything like this. But my guess is you’ve signed up for something math-related (something that people with advanced degrees tend to sign up for) in the past, and your email address was sold or rented out in an underhanded fashion.

  24. I get these all the time. It’s likely that your name appeared on a technical paper (journal or conference paper), and the spammer mined your name from there. There are a ton of people that send out these emails hoping someone will pay a small fee to have their work published, regardless of the quality of the journal.

  25. Nobody ever sends legit emails actually rewarding anyone with anything anymore without their best interest in mind.

  26. Grant Barrett, I tend to agree. It’s just weird. I get about one of these every month or so.

  27. I bet you’re kicking yourself now for not finishing that PhD. (ahem)

    – L

  28. YES!

    I get these all the time “Professor Jenkins” – woohoo I’ve been promoted from nearly doctor to the same as my adviser!

    Clearly this must be a quality publication, I must not miss this opportunity, how about collaborating on a paper Matt and submitting it 🙂

  29. Looks like spam, smells like spam, taste like spam, feels like spam….it IS spam 🙂

  30. Grant Barrett Said,
    February 23, 2009 @ 5:11 am

    Sounds like a variation on the “who’s who” dodge or the vanity-publishing dodge.

    Isn’t it funny how well this marketing strategy works? Matt even makes a blog post out of it to show off.. 😉

  31. Aren’t the efforts performed by Google’s spam team not “valuated achievements in mathematics” ?

  32. Reminds me of poetry dot com. All poems submitted appear to be published, and gosh, you can go to an awards ceremony for $$$ and buy the book for $$$$

    Submit some bizarre rubbish under a pen name and see what happens!

  33. I do get a lot of those things. What they do is fetching the email address of authors from good journals and/or conference proceedings and solicit paper submissions.

    I don’t think it’s a scam: it’s just an editor trying to launch yet another technical/scientific journal and needs reasonably good submission. Needless to say, you’d be wasting your time sending anything over, as you get more visibility on your blog.

    The “conference” equivalent of that email is more annoying: I guess somebody can actually make money by “trowing” a conference after fishing around for free speakers…

  34. I also get these… they are looking for free content, maybe you will be asked to pay…

    … but Matt, you will get more of these than I will because you are widely known and an article from you will pump up the credibility of their little vanity press.

    And, for a few more bucks they will toss in a PhD sheepskin. 😛

  35. Sending spam emails to the head of Google’s webspam team, how dumb some people are, so do you pass these onto the Gmail team for future flagging as pre identified spam?

    Speaking of spam and Gmail, why can’t we have a flag and ignore option? Don’t get me wrong the Gmail spam filter works well, but it would be nice to be able to completely ignore some persistent spammers so they don’t even make it back into the spam folder.

  36. Thats is the price tobe so fammous, Mister Matt Cutts, you will be remembered for ever. So many peoples wold like to be in your jobs, you are the guy.
    Dont worry Mister cutts, dont worry 😉

  37. I read a news about terrorists sending coded messages to their group and spam such mails so that their mails r not easily tracked. It COULD be one of such mails or may be not.

    You can read the news here;

  38. I’ve gotten several of these, not necessarily regarding mathematics but on a variety of academic topics. I used to design for a university so I assumed they were grabbing my .edu address from pages I’d worked on there.

  39. Never had this kind of email. My guess is that they bait you with some academic exposure and at some point will ask for money to “get your work published”. Hate these scammers.

  40. I don’t get those but what I do get, every single day, is a request from (random website) asking to purchase a (permanent) “text” link in my website, or on a certain page on my website. They always start with something along the lines of “great site..” (the compliment) and proceed to either beg or, more over the last year, simply bribe their way to a link. They are generated form letters that probably only see a human eye if I were to reply.

    Obviously whatever google does to protect page rank from being sold in the open market isn’t working. If I was unscrupulous I could have made thousands from selling these links.

  41. Michel Bessette

    I get at least 2 requests a week asking me to help some widow or orphan get money out of some exotic country… Is there any way that I can STOP THIS?? What is the danger if I reply and ask politely for them to Pxxx OFF??

    Gracias, Michel.

  42. M Cutts is “Matt Cutts”. As far as I know it’s an internet phrase of some sort.

  43. Yes i did get some of those spams but i report them as spam to stop all such junks