Economics of IRC Spam

Whenever I chat on IRC, I get the occasional “see my pictures on my web site” message. What kind of money does this type of spam make? Is the spammer the same as the web site owner? Or are there independent referrers?

Two possibilities:

  1. They want to drive up the number of visitors to their site. The more unique visitors they have, the more they can charge advertisers.

  2. They have some kind of malicious script that will steal your personal information. Then they can turn around and sell that.

Thanks, I suppose I need to click on one of the links and find out.

Don’t do that. There’s a good chance that they have gone with option #2, and you really don’t want that crap on your computer.

Well, I gave it a shot and ended up on a dating site that appeared to be at least semi - legitimate.

They can be spamming you with pay per click links. This is generally a TOS violation for most PPC ad providers but far from all. In this case any clickthrough could easily be generating .10-$1.00 each or in some cases they send you to a porn site fron requiring you to sign up for “adult check” or the like to view the site. Adult check has fees and passes $1-$2 to the site owner for the referral.

So in a nutshell its not unimaginable that if you spammed 500 people/hour with a chat spam application that you could easily be getting $20-$30/hr in commissions.

Dial that up to 5000/hr and it starts to look like real money. Once you get reported and locked down…create a new account…repeat.

Option 3: You click the link, go to the site, like what you see and pay to see more (be it pr0n, a dating site, or anything else for that matter).