For quite some time (at least months, maybe a year or so), I've been getting the occasional email where what should clearly be a "." in a link has become "..":
http://www.dreamwidth..org and the like. I'd assumed it was just a reasonably common typo for a reason I couldn't quite fathom, and never wondered much about it.
Until today, where I had a brief exchange of emails with the people who'd sent one such duff link, and they reported that nobody else had had that problem. So I figured it may be something on my end, and dug a little deeper.
Have a look at this chunk of raw email content (edited to preserve style while removing private data):
2xEuthkrNGNbo&sa=3DD&usg=uehcAIUEQhRCSmhnsT_uAKXIUEhbhtahtdTH" styl= e=3D"color:inherit;text-decoration:inherit"><br>http://www.indelicates.com/= NotHere/IAmNotTheFileEither.txt</a></span></p><p style=3D"padding:0px;margi= n:0px;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;height:11pt;direction:ltr"></p><p st= yle=3D"padding:0px;margin:0px;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;direction:lt= r">Both are zipped folders that contain the tracks, digital artwork and cre= dits. If you are unsure which version to download then go for the Mp3s.<br>= <br>This album has a story, which you can read here:<br><span style=3D"colo= r:rgb(17,85,204);text-decoration:underline"><a href=3D"https://www.google.c= om/url?q=3Dhttp://www.google.com/url?q%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.indelicates= ..com%252Felevator%252F1.html%26amp;sa%3DD%26amp;sntz%3D1%26amp;usg%3DAFQjCN= H19duvjmV80u8vgfp_dWO16zdz6w&sa=3DD&usg=3DAFQjCNGMpiSpcpd7bOcZlcorQ= 26jkoROUA" style=3D"color:inherit;text-decoration:inherit">http://www.indel= icates.com/elevator/1.html</a></span></p><p style=3D"padding:0px;margin:0px= ;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;direction:ltr"><br>As ever, our PR budget= is paid in kind with the kindness of strangers. We believe that these thin= gs are possible without gatekeepers and central authorities - but we are su= stained in that belief only by your willingness to go along with them. As s= uch, anything you can do to help spread the word about this crowdfunding ef= fort will really, really help us out. Please share the link to:</p><p style= =3D"padding:0px;margin:0px;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;height:11pt;dir= ection:ltr"></p><p style=3D"padding:0px;margin:0px;font-size:11pt;font-fami=
This is HTML in a single dense block with line continuations marked with "=". As there's no reason not to, the lines are all the same length, a reasonably standard 76 characters. All the lines, that is, except one, which noticeably sticks out. And what's that at the start of the line? A double dot where there ought to be a single one. There are other examples in this email, while all the other dots are untouched.
It looks like somewhere in the various hops emails take on their way to my inbox, something is switching any "." in the first column of a line to "..".
Now begins the task of working out who runs that server and what the frell they're doing with my email (although I have suspicions as to the likely culprit). But. Wow. Good bug.