Wednesday, 3 January 2018

is spam bad for your teeth?

I just got an email invitation.  I’ll quote it in full (I’m beyond the days of saying that I’ve deleted information to protect the guilty.)

Dear Dr. S. Stepney,


The purpose of this invitation is to formally invite you to the upcoming Conference World Congress on Dental and Oral Health, which is going to be held during April 09-11, 2018 at Las Vegas, USA.

It will be an honor if you would like to share your in-depth knowledge and research about and education. Dental 2018 will focus on Exploring the Possibilities in shaping the future of Dental and Oral Health” and aims at bringing together the professors, researchers, and students in all areas of Dental Education and Challenges and to provide an international forum for the dissemination of original research results, new ideas and practical development experiences which concentrate on both education and practices.

Your invaluable guidance and support as a Speaker to Dental 2018 will play a crucial part in making this a memorable event. We are confident that you will enjoy the Scientific Program of this upcoming Conference.

For more information Visit:

We look forward to welcoming you to the USA

With Regards

Mary Frances
Program Manager
Dental 2018
Science Access

Disclaimer: This is not a spam message, and has been sent to you because of your eminence in the field. If, however, you do not want to receive any email in future from Dental Congress 2018 then reply us with the subject “Opt-out”.

Let me think.  How genuine might this be?  Hmm.  Well, I know nothing about dentistry.  (Apart from the fact I should go to the dentist rather more frequently than I do.)  So, yes, I think that confirms it.  It’s a spam invitation (despite that peculiar teeny Disclaimer).

I can guess why I got it, though.  I happen to be a co-author on a paper in the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (not the journal I publish in with any great frequency, I have to say).  But even the most cursory look at the title, let alone the abstract, would show the paper is nothing to do with dentistry (or even that much with oral and maxillofacial surgery specifically), but is rather on HCI, about a new technique for self-assessing patient quality of life.  So the request seems to be from a particularly naive spam-bot.

I wonder just what this invitation might imply about the quality of this particular conference and its speakers?

For the uninitiated, who don’t already have inboxes and spam filters full of these kind of things, Adam Ruben has a very nice blog post about ways to spot them.  (I have received invitations to speak at genuine conferences, and I can say that the emails are nothing like this in style.)

Oh, and also, “in-depth knowledge and research about and education”?

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