In a combination of what seems to be a weird quirk and a slew of not-so-bright internet users, MSN’s most recent search engine update has brought a little bit of unanticipated fun to my email inbox.

About two weeks ago, I noticed that I was starting to get quite a few odd emails sent my way via my send-me-an-email webpage. I couldn’t really find a common thread running through the emails; the topics were diverse, the people sending the emails were spread all over the map, and none of it looked very spam-like. (Oddly, I do get the occasional spam manually submitted through that webpage, something that always both confuses and amuses me.) I figured that the page had ended up linked somewhere and that things would die down, but the frequency of the emails just accelerated over the past week. Finally, I modified the script that runs behind that webpage so that it passes along to me the webpage that referred the sender to my contact form, and learned something interesting: all of the senders were coming from an MSN Search result page for the phrase “send mail”. Going to that page, I see that my contact form is the sixth hit, and is the first hit with a title that might imply that it’s a generic email interface. Apparently, users of MSN’s search engine are following those clues, clicking through to my contact form, and sending their emails straight to my inbox. Today alone, I’ve received two resumes, best wishes and prayers on my upcoming exams, and an attempt to submit a late sociology assignment, and the day’s only half-over.

What’s totally baffling to me is why the senders don’t notice that they’re never asked for the recipient of their email, and in the case of that last sender today, how the obvious lack of a facility to upload documents failed to warn him that his “attached” late assignment wasn’t really going to work out so well. I started figuring out how I should modify the page to convey to viewers that it’s only a way to contact me, but then decided that I’m having way too much fun seeing all these emails pop in. We’ll see how long I keep getting misdirected notes, and how long the page stays in that first tier of MSN Search hits.