I recall hearing once (how’s that for a cite) that telemarketers only plan on selling to less than 5% of the people that they contact. I’m not certain if spam and pop-up ads work on a similar business plan or not. Apparently, that 5% makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve never purchased anything from spam or a pop-up. I did once purchase some credit card plan from a telemarketer, though I did cancel it soon afterwards. I was only 19 and had no idea what I was getting involved in.
In my college days when I was more naive and less worldly, I worked a few months for a local telemarketing company. I would say that the 5% figure is high. It is more realistically around 1% of calls actually yielded a sale. Only those that were really REALLY good at it could possibly make 5% of their calls.
To answer the OP, I have never bought from a telemarketer, and I have never bought anything from a spam e-mail.
I have a friend who responded to one of those “FREEE!!! TV!!1!” spame emails. He jumped through a bunch of hoops - he had to open two credit card accounts (he used each to purchase one item and destroyed the cards), sign up for a month of Blockbuster by mail (cancelled after the first month), and pay shipping charges on free samples of a couple of different things (some kind of cleaning product, some lotion, something else I don’t remember). Once he did all those, though, he did indeed get a new 40 inch HDTV. It cost him a grand total of about $30, lots of patience, and meticulous record keeping to be sure that he actually cancelled everything that he signed up for.
He’s working on a $1500 Visa Gift Card now. Somehow I don’t think he’s really the kind of target they’re looking for.
I think telemarketers might get into the 1-5% range, but spammers send millions of emails, and thus can live on .00…% return rates. A 1cent email tax would put them out of business.
I’ve gone along with a few telephone surveys, especially during voting season, even though I know that some surveys are just looking for people to hit up for donations. But I like those I’m supporting and those against just where I stand.
Technically, yes, once. I got an unsolicited email advertising a book about Human Resources in the United Nations. Well, it must have been a pretty d*mn targeted email, because those are 2 professional interests of mine. Still, I’d had no idea the book existed. I don’t know if they sent the ad to a lot of HR people, or a lot of people interested in the U.N., but I figured that they’d hit their mark so well with me that I’d go ahead and buy the book. It was as good as expected.