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View Full Version : How, precisely, do spammers make money


Bricker
08-10-2005, 11:32 AM
This thread tells of AOL's (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=329579) successful suit against a spammer, and the seizure of his considerable assets.

Clearly, at least prior to the anti-spam laws, a spammer could make money.

How?

Can someone sketch out the basic business plan? Is the spammer also the end-seller of the products offered in the spam? Or is he a middle-man? If the latter, how does he possibly make his dough?

RealityChuck
08-10-2005, 11:37 AM
Several ways:

1. Some spammers actually do sell the products they're advertising. If they get a dozen orders out of 2,000,000 messages sent out, it pays for things.

2. Spammers sell their services. They tell clients that, if the clients get a dozen orders out of the 2,000,000 messages sent out, it'll pay the spammer's fee. A few clients get enough to pay for the service, but there are plenty of people who are willing to risk the money.

3. Spammers sell their lists of addresses, both to people who have a product to sell, or to other spammers.

Gfactor
08-10-2005, 11:50 AM
This thread tells of AOL's (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=329579) successful suit against a spammer, and the seizure of his considerable assets.

Clearly, at least prior to the anti-spam laws, a spammer could make money.

How?

Can someone sketch out the basic business plan? Is the spammer also the end-seller of the products offered in the spam? Or is he a middle-man? If the latter, how does he possibly make his dough?

In the late 90s I represented a company that ran some soft-core porn sites. Their entire marketing plan was based on spam. Even after they were sued by AOL, several ISPs, and others, they made millions.

The basic business plan looked like this:

1. Hire young women to put on pg, r, and possibly x-rated shows.
2. Feed the video to several shell websites where patrons could choose from several channels.
3. Cross-promote the websites (banner ads and other web advertising for one company-owned site were placed on other company-owned sites). All sites had identical content.
4. Charge a sign up fee for each site, plus a per minute charge for viewing the feeds (or some variation of this).
5. Spam spam spam, and more spam.
6. Hi Opal!
7. Repeat.

cmkeller
08-10-2005, 12:17 PM
8. Profit

Futile Gesture
08-10-2005, 12:19 PM
1/ Shady Dealer strikes deal with Spammer. For every sale he directs their way Spammer gets 1% referal fee.

2/ Spammer fires out 100 million emails at miniscule cost. Each link back to the Shady Dealer's website has an identifier that tells them it came from Spammer.

3/ Moron reads spam, follows link, buys trash.

4/ Shady Dealer gets sale, Spammer gets 1%, Moron gets trash, rest of planet gets spam.

5/ Goto step 2.

The obvious solution to the problem would be to eliminate the morons at step 3. Or maybe providing them with special compulsory email accounts (moron@spam-me.com) so that the rest of us don't have to be involved.

Gfactor
08-10-2005, 12:21 PM
8. Profit

See step 4.

RyJae
08-10-2005, 12:29 PM
We had an affiliate who sent out spam for our product we noticed on the Monday after the weekend when he spammed as he increased the sales ten fold over the weekend. Adn we got reports of spam in the thousands.
Needless to say his account was killed and we put a filter in place that should automatically kill a spammer, while re-directing the affiliate link to an apology page with no links to our products.
Very interesting conversation though at work, on whether or not we give the spammer his profit from the spamming, it was a violation of our rules, but he did create a lot of sales, feed him or teach him? I don't know which one was chosen by the Affiliate Manager but I do know we haven't had the problem since.

Bottom line, enough people click the spam to make it worth the spammers time.

Steve MB
08-10-2005, 01:26 PM
we put a filter in place that should automatically kill a spammer
Wow! Is that like the Schrodinger's Cat experiment, except that instead of opening the box you drop a grenade into it?