Nicely played, spammer…but not quite nicely enough

A little more than a month ago, I posted “Keeping it going: another update on library social networking et al.” Included in that post was an amplification of my need for funding to expand and continue my broad investigations into public library social networking.

Somebody (who shall go nameless) posted what appeared to be a cogent reply, noting the existence of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and suggesting that I try there. It was flagged for moderation, and reading the first paragraph, I almost approved it…until I got to the final paragraph, where it turned into a sales pitch for some product entirely unrelated to me, libraries or even the Gates Foundation.

It was spam–but not “pure and simple.” Some spambot had actually managed to parse the post well enough to come up with a seemingly logical response, one that wasn’t just parroting the post. Or maybe some human spammer figured I’d be so delighted with the suggestion that I wouldn’t read all the way through to the end of the post.

Didn’t happen.

Oh, as to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for which I have the greatest respect:

I checked. The foundation doesn’t make grants to individuals. In fact, it can’t make grants to individuals even if it was so inclined: Its tax status and charter prevent it.

Also, for U.S. library-related grants at least, it appears that Gates always goes looking, it doesn’t accept applications.

I would love to have appropriate institutional affiliation or partnership. Any suggestions are welcome. I’m pretty sure that most other foundations (e.g., Knight) will have similar limits to Gates. (Some library school want to make a name for in-depth study of public library use of social networks? I could work with you, possibly…)

So far, no progress on finding sources of funding (or, really, knowing how to do so). The improbable possibility of Kickstarter is starting to look better…

Anyway: As the title says: Nicely played, spammer…but not quite nicely enough.

And I once again apologize to people who submit legitimate comments only to have them trapped as spam. I continue to average more than 100 spamments per day, so really don’t look carefully at each apparent spamment. If you think this has happened, please, please email me your comment at waltcrawford at

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