Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rconner

29% of people surveyed bought from spammers

Recommended Posts

I found this while researching updates to my site:

http://www.marshal.com/pages/newsitem.asp?article=748

They claim that in a web poll they conducted, 29% of about 600 respondents claimed that they'd bought something from a spammer. Being that it is a self-selected survey with a rather limited sample, I'm not as willing to extrapolate these numbers as the authors are, but they do make some good points about the fact that spam offers goods that some people dearly want but can't (or won't) get anywhere else.

Also, you have to consider that these folks are selling anti-spam services, so sensational headlines like these tend to help their sales pitches.

-- rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...They claim that in a web poll they conducted, 29% of about 600 respondents claimed that they'd bought something from a spammer. Being that it is a self-selected survey with a rather limited sample, I'm not as willing to extrapolate these numbers as the authors are, but they do make some good points about the fact that spam offers goods that some people dearly want but can't (or won't) get anywhere else. ...
Yeah, self-selection makes it tricky (there are pros and cons as to whether visitors to a security site - or, more to the point, those who chose to respond - might be considered a fair sample or instead might be skewed one way or the other) but, if it can be considered representative, the 'immutable laws' of polling would show -

Sample Size Calculator

..with a sample of 622 and a population of such size that it doesn't matter (in sampling terms it's practically infinite, put in any large number you care to or none at all to indicate infinite, same result), the 181 positives (29.1%) indicate a total population reponse of:

29.1% ± 3.57% with the traditional 95% confidence.

There is mention of "a similar Forrester Research poll from 2004" which elicited a "20%" positive response from a sample of "6,000". That would predict a population result of:

20% ± 1.01% (with 95% confidence).

The differences might indeed indicate some problems with the survey methodologies but the similarities tend to confirm there is, certainly, a problem of considerable magnitude with the over-credulity of the "consumer base". And spam keeps happening and it keeps increasing which is the touchstone of the reality check. Of course it depends a bit/lot on the definition of 'spam'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
<snip>

but they do make some good points about the fact that spam offers goods that some people dearly want but can't (or won't) get anywhere else.

<snip>

...Also summarized in the article as "It is a black market ...." But in a black market, consumers generally actually receive the goods for which they are relieved of their funds. I wonder for what proportion of purchases of spammers' "products" this holds true. The article makes no mention of this (or I missed it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Also summarized in the article as "It is a black market ...." But in a black market, consumers generally actually receive the goods for which they are relieved of their funds. I wonder for what proportion of purchases of spammers' "products" this holds true. The article makes no mention of this (or I missed it).
I didn't see anything about this either. The article more or less portrayed the spammers as "alternative merchants" and did not get into the criminal/fraudulent aspects of spam.

We also don't know where they asked this question -- if you posted the poll here on this forum, you'd get one answer, whereas if you posted it on "naive-network-marketing.com" you'd get another. Also we don't know how the question was phrased. This brings in the point that Farelf raised, namely that a lot depends upon how you define "spam." If people think that annoying-but-legit mailers are actually spammers, then this would skew the figures.

It could be me, but I just find it hard to believe that nearly 1/3 of the population has bought viagra/fake watches/diplomas etc. via spam.

-- rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
..I didn't see anything about this either. The article more or less portrayed the spammers as "alternative merchants" and did not get into the criminal/fraudulent aspects of spam.annoying-but-legit mailers are actually spammers, then this would skew the figures.

...

It could be me, but I just find it hard to believe that nearly 1/3 of the population has bought viagra/fake watches/diplomas etc. via spam.

Something keeps the engine ticking over though. Even the Nigerian scammers manage to make a living. $36 million a year from Australia alone - http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/36-m...8911772460.html That being the case I would be supposing at least $360 million a year from the USA.

Anyway, to thump the tub a bit, pharmaceuticals (apparent prescription drugs) are arguably of much greater concern than the rest, so too the 'alternative' medicines supplied over the internet, but (presumably) to a slightly lesser degree of risk.

The defining characteristic of the fake pharms market is its hazard. Even when the 'goods' are provided, they are not from legitimate sources and are not subject to any sort of verifiable quality assurance or safety controls. And yes, even 'natural herbals' can be dangerous, even lethal, with unknown concentrations of unknown ingredients. And the counterfeit pharms are possibly understrength, denatured, contaminated and/or cut with dangerous additives to simulate some sort of medicinal effect (strychnine for instance, banned from mainstream use many years ago and for good reason).

The 'generic' pharmaceuticals market is a different matter but when similar sales and distribution methods are used it becomes Russian roulette within the same unregulated market - roulette with 5 loaded chambers I would think.

Just part of life's rich tapestry, I guess. But spammers as 'alternative merchants'? Yes, that is sort of the impression given and it is a dangerously naive POV, apparently shared by many including legislators and judiciary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are still newsprint ads for envelope stuffers! The stuff that people want (but can't get elsewhere) is because there really are a lot of not very intelligent people out there, plus a lot of greedy people (the 419 spammers don't target the poor slobs who want a real looking brand watch or have a bigger erection). The black market is criminal, though as Steve T points out, the goods that are sold are of real value. spam is more equable to the guy in the alley with watches pinned to the inside of his coat or an invitation to meet a really cool chick - except for the scammers who are real criminals like drug dealers.

I thought the percentage was a lot lower. I wonder if that is a recent survey?

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought the percentage was a lot lower. I wonder if that is a recent survey?
Within the last few days, I believe.

-- rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...I thought the percentage was a lot lower. I wonder if that is a recent survey?
You have to know what the percentage relates to Miss Betsy - if it is a percentage of the total spam sent then it will be very low indeed, because blocking catches most spam in most accounts (or even at the SMTP level) and because a certain amount of 'spam' is either 'non-commercial' or reponses are hard to quantify (stock pump, etc., no direct link).

The measure of purchases from spam opened is the main thrust of the topic and I have little doubt it is much higher than we might have cared to imagine - people are willing to risk it for a number of reasons the spammers understand even if we have difficulty with it.

More commentary on the Marshall survey http://www.securecomputing.net.au/News/120...-from-spam.aspx (the 'jewellery' characterization either being a red herring or 'IT Security Professionals' knowing stuff we don't, which would be appropriate).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps sales have increased because of the filtering - unsophisticated users assuming that any email that makes it to their inbox is from legitimate dealers.

Another possible skew is that the results were from an online survey. Many savvy internet users either don't have time to either surf and find surveys or to fill them out if they find them in conjunction with some business they are doing. It would be precisely those people who don't check out their sources, etc. who would be likely to answer an online survey.

But again, now that I have read the article, the people who are buying are those who either don't realize the poor quality or are greedy (will buy a pirated copy of software because it is cheap) or really want to see the porn, and it is easier to click on a link than to find it by surfing.

There have been gullible and greedy people since the beginning of time and there will always be those who are willing to 'supply' them. That's why IMHO it is ridiculous to use any filtering technique except rejection. With rejection, any email service provider will have to choose between giving reliable outgoing spam free service or getting spammer money. There will eventually evolve two internets - one where spam is freely exchanged and one where spam is rarely sent and always blocked at the server level (so that, if there is a minor breakdown in outgoing security, legitimate users will immediately complain to their service provider who will fix the problem).

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There will eventually evolve two internets - one where spam is freely exchanged and one where spam is rarely sent and always blocked at the server level (so that, if there is a minor breakdown in outgoing security, legitimate users will immediately complain to their service provider who will fix the problem).

Have there not been proposals made to this effect? Would it not be possible to add protocols (which clearly identify the sender), which could be optional (opt-in), so that the user would choose to tell all those who communicate with them that they will not receive any communication from anyone not using this protocol?

Didn't Microsoft start to suggest something like that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure what you are referencing, but it sounds to me like 'whitelisting' and challenge/response which are both a nuisance to the recipient. Since the *sending* end is the only place that spam can actually be stopped, the *sender* should be responsible for using reliable email, i.e. email service providers who prevent spam from being sent from the IP addresses under their control.

If email service providers rejected all email at the server level from known spam sources (and, of course, filtered for new sources with content filters), then all legitimate senders would have to find a reliable email provider who would fix the problem immediately (by suspending privileges for compromised machine owners or accounts that slipped by their security) if their emails were ever blocked. Receivers could have low spam threshholds (or none at all, if their address was not published) and be sure that all legitimate email would be delivered to them or returned to the *sender* to fix any problems without having to whitelist or do much of anything.

It is the policy of accepting email and then trying to filter it that makes email less and less reliable every day.

There probably should be some sort of surcharge for email service if you send more than say 50 emails a day. Obviously businesses who run their own servers would not have to have a limit and businesses who use someone else's services could easily be signed up and if the references check out, etc., the fee could be refunded.

Something like that might even cut down on what McAfee is calling fram - the FW: FW: that some people delight in. For non-profits and other kinds of organizations (or even large families) where people want to send information to a lot of people at one time, there could be provisions for giving them confirmed subscription software so that they can only send lots of emails to a particular list and be suspended if they didn't keep it current if there were complaints.

The problem has always been the consumer end user who doesn't want to take the time to learn how to use email properly. Some of it also lies with the techies who can't seem to explain it simply enough so that people can understand.

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not expert enough to design such a system, but you alluded to a two tier service, which is what caught my eye.

The majority of email users are individuals and even companies can have quite specific rules about who is allowed to email them (most have given up on public email addresses anyway, using web forms instead).

Any legitimate users should not have a problem with a system that positively and verifiably identified both the sender and their ISP. I am much more inconvenienced by spam than I would be by any such system I can imagine.

Let those who respond to spam continue to receive it.

I believe there are solutions, but the question is what are the necessary pressures to actually implement any? It would seem that as long as the capacity exists, and providers have an opportunity to bill by bandwidth used directly or indirectly, then spam is an indirect opportunity to keep revenues above where they would otherwise be.

For example Sprint seems to be the primary carrier for much of the spam from China (according to Spamcop reports). I would imagine they bill someone for that traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another (older) report to chew on:

Unfortunately, I cannot find the report to which this article refers, but the article suggests rates that are much closer to expectation: 5% for clicking on porn spams, 0.02% or less for actually placing orders on drug/watch websites etc. (I confess I can't completely follow the capsule description here, too bad the original report went 404).

It occurs to me that there might not be as much of a gap here as might seem apparent. Let's say that the response rate on a single spam is 0.02%. However, if you send, say, 500 spam runs over the course of a year for the same operation, your response rate to the campaign as a whole has to go up. My calculator tells me that (1-0.0002)^500 = 90.5%, although this math wouldn't apply directly you can see the trend.

-- rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

Let those who respond to spam continue to receive it.

I believe there are solutions, but the question is what are the necessary pressures to actually implement any? It would seem that as long as the capacity exists, and providers have an opportunity to bill by bandwidth used directly or indirectly, then spam is an indirect opportunity to keep revenues above where they would otherwise be.<snip>

Yes, the problem seems to be in the cost of bandwidth. I see no reason why those who respond to spam should not continue to do so - if it costs more to receive it, then they should pay more. (that would effectively cut out a certain percentage who want 'cheap' )

The backbone carriers, like Sprint, only get paid for bandwidth and do not lose money handling spam. Now that a large percentage of spam comes through open proxies and from bots that don't use mail servers, ISTM that many server admins are blocking those at the server level. I am not a server admin, but as an end user of free services, I have noticed a drop in the number of spam - even though I have turned spam filtering off.

The infected computers are in the thousands now, but some ISPs will not notify (or deny access) to customers who have infected computers because they are afraid to lose a customer (plus it costs more in personnel to do that). As long as their mail servers are clean, they don't care.

So, it is doubtful that economics will stop spam.

IMHO, the necessary pressure to eliminate spam will be consumer awareness spearheaded by someone like Ralph Nader that will force the ISPs and backbones to take steps for a solution. I don't know whether Comcast still does little or nothing about infected machines. However, if people who use Comcast knew that Comcast does not prevent porn spam from being sent from the IP addresses under their control, there would probably be enough of users who would cancel, or if there is no alternative, raise a public stink, that Comcast would do something to help users clean up. There is a book called the "Tipping Point" that shows how when a certain percentage of the population become aware, that public opinion does change. At the moment there are not enough people who really understand how email works and what can be done about spam to 'tip' public opinion toward better email practice by end users - including choosing a email service provider on the basis of their reliability in delivery.

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...There have been gullible and greedy people since the beginning of time and there will always be those who are willing to 'supply' them. ...
I'm straying a little off topic here, but following this thought and having mentioned Nigerian scams earlier - those ingenious Nigerians have another 'solution' Jail the 'greedy' scam victims, says Nigerian diplomat. Well, that will teach us for giving his country a bad name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, is it very much different than jailing Johns? It takes two to tango. IMHO, it would make a lot more sense to make a law that people who are bothered by receiving scam messages (whatever way they are delivered) can report and the authorities will prosecute. Now, IIUC, the law only goes after those whom they can prove received money from the scam. Sort of like the fax law where every piece received is counted as part of the judgment.

There are a lot of people receiving spam who would like to throttle anyone buying from a spam.

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Well, is it very much different than jailing Johns? ...
Possibly not but, to stay with the analogy, I fear the commissioner of police owns the biggest bordello in town thus the whole exercise is a little breathtaking in its hypocrisy and misdirection. Leaving aside the 'victimless crime' phallocentric BS, is the poor and desperate little hooker not actually less despicable than the rich and greedy/needy 'exploiter'? Well, is it ever that simple in the real world? Where there's big money to made there tends to be a degree of organization attracted that is richer and more powerful and more ruthless than the users of their services - and unhampered by any rules or regulation.
...IMHO, it would make a lot more sense to make a law that people who are bothered by receiving scam messages (whatever way they are delivered) can report and the authorities will prosecute. ...
(Getting back to 419 scams and leaving the weary working girls/boys out of it.) That is the thrust and intent of existing criminal law, for all crimes. ...
...Now, IIUC, the law only goes after those whom they can prove received money from the scam ...
Seems to be the way it works out (I don't know) but in theory the attempt to commit a crime is usually given the same weight as its actual commission - though proof is, naturally, much more difficult. But in the case of 419s there is a substantial money trail to nail the 'easy' targets, the perpetrators.
...It takes two to tango ...make a law ...Sort of like the fax law where every piece received is counted as part of the judgment. ...
(Taking some liberties to assemble what I imagine to be your thought stream.) I think existing laws (in most parts) could do this, go after the perpetrator *and* the willing accomplice/victim (making some assumptions about the clear criminality of the scam inducement) though the lawyers would have a field day on behalf of the victims, lawyers who have a knack of enlarging loopholes that would have make a weasel whimper and of magnifying a grain of reasonable doubt until it seems larger than a mountain of evidence. As for writing 'improved' laws that overcome the inconvenience of proper standards of proof and its presentation. Well, that's what police states do.

So, on sober reflection, nah, I don't think the prosecution of victims is the way to break this cycle though they're easier to find than the perps let alone the organizers, which will always have a certain appeal to a particular breed of law enforcer.

... There are a lot of people receiving spam who would like to throttle anyone buying from a spam.
Amen to that ... but it's not really practicable. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, my thought processes were a little tangled, weren't they? <g>

The per piece fax law was supposed to go with the report of solicitation by responsible citizens. The burden of proof is not necessary since it is the actual solicitation that is persecutable. Now, I am almost certain the law doesn't even consider anything under something like $10,000 (or maybe $5,000) to be persecutable. Al Capone was brought down by income tax evasion. Perhaps, 419 scammers could be brought down by fines for each letter they send.

Even though the scammer is probably not as desperate as working girls/boys (though possibly the one actually doing it may be doing it as some working girls/boys do for pimps), the principle is the same. The 'greedy' and the 'John' both are knowingly interested in something illegal which the 419 scammer and the working girls/boys are more than willing to give them. The difference is that the 'John' actually gets something (like the people who buy the drugs and watches and software). But still, even if the 'greedy' gets stiffed in the deal, s/he certainly decided to participate in something that was not kosher and, you could even argue, is no different than the 'John' who contacts AIDS. Although the rationale behind the arrests of 'Johns' is partly to protect them (as well as persecute those who exploit the desperate) by giving them an additional reason not to seek that particular diversion, IMHO, it is real justice to hold both parties responsible for illegal dealings. Both the seller and buyer of drugs are liable for persecution even though the seller is the powerful one and the buyer is essentially the victim. And weren't people who bought in the black market just as liable as the one who sold? If people buy stolen goods, aren't they considered to have broken the law as receivers of stolen goods? OTOH, laws don't deter criminals so what effectiveness a law against dealing with 419 scammers is probably negligible.

For other scams, such as the one where the scammer gets someone to loan them money that they need desperately for a short time, does have a true victim, albeit someone who is very gullible and not very well read. And there are some, like the investors in Enron, who are truly innocent victims.

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...The per piece fax law was supposed to go with the report of solicitation by responsible citizens. The burden of proof is not necessary since it is the actual solicitation that is persecutable. Now, I am almost certain the law doesn't even consider anything under something like $10,000 (or maybe $5,000) to be persecutable. Al Capone was brought down by income tax evasion. Perhaps, 419 scammers could be brought down by fines for each letter they send. ...
Thanks for the explanation. Yep, I have to admit the 'offence' of responding to solicitation would be a worthwhile thing to bring to the fight, coupled with the requirement/facility for honest citizens to report the attempt and those reports, properly documented and authenticated, being evidence against the perpetrator. It is not as if those responding to 419s all have clean hands - almost every/every case is presented as requiring participation in an illegal (or at least immoral) process for undeserved gain - though engineered to reduce reluctance. The reason 419s work as well as they do is possibly because
  1. many/most ordinary people are continually hopeful of windfalls (despite the best efforts of an uncaring universe to disabuse such notions)
  2. the average citizen doesn't care a rat's rectum about some 'foreign' government (or even their own)
  3. the few exceptions are mostly able to rationalize that it is, after all, only some notoriously corrupt government that is (supposedly) to be dudded, "Heck they *deserve* to be denied such unmerited bounty!"

And the reason Nigeria features so prominently includes that it has, by reputation and through documented instances, made for itself just about the most corrupt government extant.

Which makes the call by a Nigerian official to prosecute (presumably) and jail (assuredly) the 'greedy scam victims' somewhat breathtaking in its apparent hypocrisy and misdirection (enough to make a dingo chunder, not to put too fine a point upon it). If His Excellency would submit the circumstances of his own well-remunerated appointment to competent scrutiny that might go an awful long way towards disarming scepticism about the propriety and moral authority of his denunciations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I guess he thinks the victims 'deserve' it. Same thinking as #3 rationale (or possibly a variation on #2 - rich foreigners tempting his subjects. Sort of like flashing a wad of money in certain bars.). Isn't there a saying that locks only keep honest men out? The reason the 419 scams are successful is that both parties think alike.

Though I think you are correct that probably the fact that Nigeria is noted for corruption helps the pitch. There have been variations, but none of them seem to last very long. A #4 reason might be that as long as there is already corruption, one might as well get a piece of the pie. And, also, that those who are already corrupt and part of a corrupt organization will probably know enough not to get caught (or be able to buy off any interference).

I don't think there is any hope that spam about scams and shoddy merchandise will ever go away. At one time, before bots, there used to be an analogy about not being able to get a cab or a pizza in certain parts of town to having one's mail blocked. I still think that to not permit bulk email unless it was identified as such to be sent and to block all bulk email except those addresses that are whitelisted is the most efficient way to cut into the scammers profits from spam (and to continue to block at the server level anything that comes from known spam sources - the bad neighborhoods).

Miss Betsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jail the 'greedy' scam victims

There are possibilities here, lets follow the jail-the-Johns analogy.

I fear that like with the oldest profession, there will always be spam. It will always be hard to eliminate amateurs; places like Nevada; 14th Street (here in DC) or other red light districts; or places like Nigeria.

On the other hand jailing the Johns/arresting the professionals, does provide funds for shelters and helps control on which streets they walk.

If instead of 'jailing the greedy victims' they were fined (Johns doing community service), the money could be used to pay for the bandwidth and other cost (supporting woman's shelters). The monies could be distributed based on the volume of spam reported. == The analogy breaks down here a little. I'm not suggesting shelters for spammers.

This may result in the divided internet suggested by Miss B. One with spammers and 'willing' victims (Nevada/Nigeria and Johns); the other with providers that block spam (in and out) and spam reporters. Although different the two parts are interconnected. Just like you can hop a plane in 'Holly' Oaks and fly to Las Vegas, you could also check-out the spam. Of course, if you do not use the correct anti-virus protection, when you get back to Holly Oaks you may have an unexpected gift "that keeps on giving."

Not making light of either issue, but... (I hate being PC)

Edited by Lking

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... Well, I guess he thinks the victims 'deserve' it.
I have seen suggestions that there is an element of condonation of 419s in some Nigerian official circles, being payback (for colonial times, for slavery, for past injustices, slights and derogations of every kind). Sounds perilously close to 'projection' on the part of those drawing such inferences but, at the same time, it is - it has to be - conceivable.

So maybe they are deemed to 'deserve' it at more than level. But Professor Sunday Olu Agbi, Nigeria's High Commissioner in Canberra, maintains that the official line regards the perpetrators' activity as criminal and they do all they can to rein them in (or sentiments along similar lines). Well, we might think they aren't doing much of a job but considering (just to take one) Google's blogspot.com, longtime hotbed of all sorts of spam-supporting activity, as bad now as ever it was and they don't even accept SC reports, it is apparent that the Nigerians might be at least as effective (which is to say not at all) as some of the iconic members of the internet right there at its home. Bending over backwards to be 'fair'.

Bit hard to point the finger isn't it? But, never the less, when he (Agabi) eschews the diplomatic niceties and points his finger this way it is going to get a little chewed upon. And, I suppose, it's not just the greedy who fall for Nigerian scams of various kinds. There are other buttons to push, looking around at reactions to H.E.'s tirade.

Well, we've wandered away from affordable horology and similar wares of the spam emporium but it's all along the same lines of gullibility and the improbable degreee of trust somehow afforded to some unlikely/quite untrustworthy folk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And still it turns. Thoughts occur of the inevitability of there being a sucker, somewhere, 'there but for fortune', 'you can't con an honest man' (or woman), etc. Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists. Some interesting data

For good measure, (investigators with the Oregon Department of Justice) warned Spears that if she sends any more money to Nigeria, they will charge her with a crime. She admits it may be the only real deterrent for her, as fixing this became somewhat of an obsession.
Yes, large money transactions will always be scrutinized and money laundering and/or support of terrorists thoughts will cross the minds of those scrutineers, even if, ultimately, threats of prosecution are a kindness. Compulsive behavior is hard to shake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...claim that in a web poll they conducted, 29% of about 600 respondents claimed that they'd bought something from a spammer. Being that it is a self-selected survey with a rather limited sample, I'm not as willing to extrapolate these numbers as the authors are, ...
Some rather more considered studies referenced in Over-feeding phishers struggle to make ends meet - though that one deals more specifically with phishing: -
Far from being an easy money proposition we claim that phishing is a low-skill, low-reward business, where the average phisher makes about as much as if he did something legal with his time.
(of course) ... the referenced paper A Profitless Endeavor: Phishing as Tragedy of the Commons (PDF) includes an important review of the biasing errors which over-inflate many estimates, particularly those afflicting victim surveys and the link is drawn (by The Register) to
... a study of the economics of spam more generally, published by a team from two Californian Universities. After subverting part of the control mechanism of the Storm botnet to divert traffic to dummy domains the academic (sic) found that response rates to pharmaceutical spam were as little at one in 12 million, far lower than previously estimated.
which was covered in Researchers hijack botnet for spam study, the actual study paper being Spamalytics: An Empirical Analysis of spam Marketing Conversion (PDF). -
After 26 days, and almost 350 million e-mail messages, only 28 sales resulted — a conversion rate of well under 0.00001%.
... or, as The Register would have it, about one in 12 million.

So, yes, 29% of a small self-selected survey, while very informative concerning that sample itself, gives a very misleading impression about the general population.

As for the economic aspects of the spammers' craft as indicated by the papers, there are no quick riches and as much as can be earned could be earned (or more), risk-free, by comparable effort in legitimate enterprise. The economic argument is often raised to demonstrate there has to be some sort of viability in the spamming game (as indeed I did in an earlier post in this topic). Seems it's more a matter of perceived promise.

A small illustration: my Dad was a gold prospector at one time. He gave it up to cut firewood (by hand) for the stamping mill batteries (easier work and produced more money), he gave that up in turn to cut railway sleepers (again, by hand) because that was easier again (trees closer together in a more temperate region). Connect the dots, if you will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×