A naieve question about spam and filtering.

I understand the basic theory of spamming. Send out a bazillion spams with a “success” rate of 0.01 % (or whatever) and hopefully make money off the losers who reply.

In other words, as long as there are a certain percentage of losers in your spam pool, you can (in theory) make some money spamming.

As a spammer, your goal is to reach those losers. Normally, you do this by sending out a smany spams as possible and hope that the sheer number of spams will reel some sucker in.

However, I think it’s fair to say that people who proactively filter spam will never purchase spamvertised products or services.

Why then are spammers spending time and money to get their spams past those filters? What’s the return?

Possibly because it would make their service more attractive a proposition to potential users; “Use our bulk mailing service; - maximum penetration - specially configured to reach even those recipients who aggressively filter their mail”

And because a lot of “spam filters” are put in by the email-provider and not by joe internet.

Therefore it may be that whilst the people at the provider are too knowing to fall for it, joe internet (who was - until now - protected even though he didn’t know it) isn’t. So when the spam does break through he’s caught hook line and sinker.

Good point…I guess I was thinking of end user filtering (like I do) as opposed to provider based filtering.

That raises an interesting question. If Yahoo, MSN, etc ended their anti-spam filtering and left it in the hands of consumers, would there be less spam?

Probably not, but interesting theory.

if anything there’d be more - the people who are most likely to use companies such as yahoo, AOL, MSN etc are those who know the internet least well - but know those big names and therefore trust them.

Obviously the less well someone knows the internet and its scams, the more likely they are to fall for them. The more people that fall for them, the more spam we get.

Thats my opinion anyway.

So i guess i owe AOL a begrudged thank you… :slight_smile:

I also think many spammers are under the misguided belief that they actually have something to offer, and they are sure that you would REALLY WANT their product/ service if only you hadn’t been so quick to block all spam messages.

The same logic goes for every pyramid/ Amway/ Quickstar prospect which always starts out saying “sure you’ve seen all the scams with pyramid schemes…but ours is DIFFERENT…were not multi-level marketing…were RELATIONSHIP marketing.” I think every spammer really does believe they are going to change the world with their herbal Viagra, or whatever crap they are selling.

I’m still trying to figure out why anyone uses telemarketing, because I think that is the past annoying of all. At least spam is passive. Telemarketers are actively harassing you, and I think that gives MCI, every loser mortgage company, credit card company, house painter, water softener vendor, satellite service provider, etcthat uses them a bad image. I would generally go out of my way to avoid anyone who advertised in this manner.

The better spam filters get, the better the chance that a smart spam will be one of the few that gets past the filter and gets seen. The right spam might work on the right person, even if that person filters spam. And since it’s so cheap to spam, why not broaden the net?

I filter spam, and I manually delete virtually any that get past the filter. I figure that I have probably gotten about 100K spam messages over the last year or so. I must admit that I went for a single one that got past my filter. It was for a company that sells after-market print cartridges. It looked pretty legit, as far as spam goes. However, the cartridge I bought was unusable. They exchanged it for another unusable cartridge. They were so incompetent that first they actually sent me someone else’s replacement cartridge instead of mine. Then they actually refunded my credit card without my asking, so I didn’t bother to complain about the second cartridge. Never again. Their web site says

but I have never opted in to receive ads from anybody.

Right. Like I’m going to click REMOVE and then be on their list forever.

Interesting ways I have seen of getting past filters are to send HTML files with text as images instead of parsable text, spammy keywords substituting numerals for letters (“GET 0UT 0F DE8T N0W!”).

What are you using as a spam filter? I use POPFile, which is a Bayesian type filter written by a guy who is very active in researching developments in spamming techniques. I’m running it with 98.56% accuracy, and best of all, it’s freeware.