Conference invitation

My mailbox today had a rather alluring invitation to a conference:


On behalf of the organizing committee, I am delighted to invite you to attend the [name removed] Summit, to be held in [place removed] from January 21st to 22nd, 2011.

We would like to welcome you to our Conference as our valuable speaker
and present your recent work and ideas of <%{CURRENT_EXT1}> that were published in <%{CURRENT_EXT2}>. This is one of the high profile and interesting studies we wish to invite to our meeting…

(The bits in square brackets were removed by me, since I don’t want to embarrass the organizers, who may possibly be above-board — I haven’t looked too closely. The rest is verbatim.)

I am one of the hold-outs who sets the e-mail program to text mode by default, so after staring at this for a while, it occurred to me that the HTML version may look different. And it did: my name, work and the journal name were inserted correctly.

“Conference spam” is increasing almost exponentially, so such merge-mail techniques are no doubt useful. Perhaps, with a HTML mailer, I would have mistaken it for a personal invitation — but I doubt it. Apart from the cliched language, the conference theme is at best peripherally related to my work. Still, maybe the conference is legitimate. If so, a word of advice to the conference organisers: don’t make your invites look like spam.

Why would anyone organise a bogus conference? To make money via exorbitant registration fees, of course! Among the most prominent such offenders are a thing called WSEAS. But they passionately argue that they’re legitimate and others are envious of their success. Read for entertainment. Also note that you don’t actually have to submit a well-researched paper to such conferences: a computer-generated one will do. But you do need to cough up the money.

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