Get Even by E-Mail

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - You're so stupid, you could strangle yourself with a cordless phone. You're so ugly, the doctor should have slapped your mother when you were born. And you're so trashy, you give trash a bad name.

Those aspersions are just a sample of the digital mud available for virtual slinging at InsultPro.com. The new electronic-business hastens the decline of civility in the Internet age by letting you hurl invectives and offensive cartoons (called "insultoons") at your victims anonymously. The cost, including delivery confirmation: US$6 if sent by e-mail, $10 via regular mail, or $23 using second-day air.

You can choose from the site's database of messages in five categories (Bosses, Secret Admirer, Stupid, Trash, and Ugly) or pen your own. If you choose the e-mail option, the target of your virtual venom receives a message with a link to a Web page containing your cantankerous remarks and accompanying insultoon.

According to the site's developer, MultiSales Inc., the messages can't be traced to you. The site warns, however, not to send your message over a networked computer that can be accessed by a third party--such as your computer at work.

Amusing for a While

Anonymous and insulting e-mail is nothing new. You can fire off messages without revealing your identity at Anonymizer.com, for instance, or send someone a sensitive, anonymous note about his bad breath or other problem from MsReality.com. And of course Web-based e-mail makes anonymous messaging easier.

InsultsOnline.com lets you send nasty comments in audio as well as text, although not anonymously. The difference with InsultPro.com is its capability to send prepackaged, anonymous barbs for a small fee.

But are the insults worth the money? Considering the childish cartoons and lowbrow humor ("You're so stupid that you think a buccaneer is just a high price for corn"), the site will most likely appeal only to mischievous adolescents with access to credit cards. All others should heed the words of Miss Manners columnist Judith Martin. "Anonymous letters," Martin noted recently in a PCWorld.com interview, "are despicable."

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