Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ineffective Spam- or is it?

I recently got the following spam which I will paraphrase.
I hate to me the one to tell you this but everyone is talking about how fat you are. Its disgusting. As a friend, I recommend going to THIS WEBSITE to buy a product that will help you shed those unsighly pounds.
Since I am thin and computer-savy (at least in this regard) I knew it was spam. However, even if I was fat and naive I would still know it was spam since I got 25 copies of this email from different addresses. Wording was identical.
  1. Could someone really fall for this after getting 25 copies?
  2. Are there still people out there who fall for these things at all? (I assume yes since I still get plenty of spam.)
  3. Did they send out that many hoping that only one would get through? So they were counting on good spam filters. This makes their target people who are fat, naive, and have good spam filters. A thin demographic.
  4. More generally, I wonder if spam-scams are less effective then they used to be becuase people are getting wise to them. Or are they more effective as more people begin working on the web every day.


  1. I think there are still people who:
    -- are willing to pay for their spam being sent out, irrespective of the "click-through rate"
    -- are willing to pay for lists of addresses and access to rogue SMTP servers,
    overestimating their ability to produce a "dangerous" scam. That's what keeps the "business" going.

  2. This is obviously spam, but I am huge... Maybe that website has something to offer. May as well check it out.
    I suspect they're going for this line of thought, and only need a very small portion of people to think this way. The "friend" is probably as much for the spam filter as for the reader .

  3. Depends on the spam. People are still stupid when it comes to urban myth emails or political smears such as "Obama is a muslim" or that "he doesn't hold his hand over his heart for the national anthem". Crap like that will be read and believed because it reinforces their world view. Fighting regular spam is a relatively solved problem. How you fight stupidity?