Spam: I just don't get it.

Actually, I get a lot of it. Spam comes flooding through old e-mail in a constant stream. The thing I don't get is: what is the spammer getting out of it? I mean, most of the e-mails at the moment are for one of:

  • Rolex's: as if they're genuine. Yeah, right.
  • Various pharmaceuticals: I don't even know what these are. What the hell is a 'soft tab'? Why is it better than not being a soft tab? (I really don't want to know, by the way.)
  • Mortgage approvals: hang on, what a great idea, I'll hand over the deeds to my house to someone in another country from a company I've never heard of! What a waste of time.
  • Cheeaap Softwarrreees!: OEM Photoshop! What a bargain! If such a thing existed, I might just be tempted. But then again, probably not.

Okay, I've seen an article on the economics of spam on The Register that reckons only 50 in every million people need to respond to make money, but 50 seems a high number for these obviously useless e-mails. I guess someone must be making money out of it, but who?

The best theory I can come up with is that the people who are doing the spamming are selling their services to people who are probably even more gullible than the intended victims of spam: those people who think they can send a few million e-mails and make their internet fortune. The market for get-rich-quick schemes is always busy...

Incidentally, as an excellent way to catch spam I've been using Robin Keir's K9 Spam Filter, which is free and extremely good.

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