Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Spam Security

Former Spammer Reveals Secrets in New Book 241

Posted by Zonk
from the sleeps-better-on-his-bed-of-royalties dept.
StonyandCher writes "A retired spammer is looking to make money from a tell-all book rather than fleecing people dependent on pharmaceuticals and people with gambling problems. In this Computerworld article 'Ed', a retired spammer, predicts the spam problem will only get worse, aided by consumers with dependencies and faster broadband speeds. From the article: 'He sent spam to recovering gambling addicts enticing them to gambling Web sites. He used e-mail addresses of people known to have bought antianxiety medication or antidepressants and targeted them with pharmaceutical spam. Response rates to spam tend to be a fraction of 1 percent. But Ed said he once got a 30 percent response rate for a campaign. The product? A niche type of adult entertainment: photos of fully clothed women popping balloons ... "Yes, I know I'm going to hell," said Ed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Former Spammer Reveals Secrets in New Book

Comments Filter:
  • by Fx.Dr (915071) <(exterminans) (a ... thelosthour.com)> on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:51AM (#19927795)
    It's a pop-up book? Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • by garcia (6573) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:54AM (#19927849) Homepage
    From the article: 'He sent spam to recovering gambling addicts enticing them to gambling Web sites. He used e-mail addresses of people known to have bought antianxiety medication or antidepressants and targeted them with pharmaceutical spam. Response rates to spam tend to be a fraction of 1 percent.

    I work with targeted communications and our success rates with similar lists are just as "successful". We were looking to contact Juniors and Seniors in HS to let them know of our offerings and had a list that supposedly contained names and addresses (no e-mail/phone) of people that would be in this demographic. Out of 9800 people we had a 0.93% response rate. Being that the cost of that list was as low as it was we will do it again...

    I can only imagine what an advantage it is having such a low communication cost (it costs us .41/each) and having a 1% return rate... If only I could retire on the money I make ;)
    • by mpapet (761907) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:11PM (#19928179) Homepage
      Interesting.

      I find it very telling that there's very little of the usual /. moral outrage associated with spam.

      It's clearly okay for corporations to collect and maintain detailed records of individual consumer preferences, financial records and medical records. And yet, when identity theft stories appear, there is the usual hue and cry "something must be done!"

      It seems to me that few people understand the two go together like beer and potato chips.
    • by dodobh (65811)
      That's because the cost of the communication is borne by your recipients. Oh, and you are spamming.
  • Paid in CASH?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:54AM (#19927867) Homepage
    Oh I'm sure the "Department of Homeland Security" with the urging of the IRS will be drafting several letters to get the identity of this guy... paid in cash?! He is bound to be hit up for tax evasion. Yes, indeed he *IS* going to hell, but he won't have to die to get there!
  • It's the only kind of adult entertainment fully endorsed by my church and my local clown guild.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:56AM (#19927893) Homepage

    But Ed said he once got a 30 percent response rate for a campaign. The product? A niche type of adult entertainment: photos of fully clothed women popping balloons ... "Yes, I know I'm going to hell"

    I've never gotten such spam.

    I'm surprised it was only 30% -- that kind of thing is bound to pique the interest of a whole lotta people.

    (Oh, come on, admit it, you're googling it right now, aren't you? Oh, maybe I'm going to hell too ;-)

    Cheers
    • I keep re-reading that passage thinking that there is some detail that I'm probably missing.....then again, the way fetishes go, probably not. Seriously though, why can't we seem to find women with oddball fetishes? or are they just better at keeping it to themselves?
    • "I've never gotten such spam."

      How do you know? Do you actually read all your spam?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dankasfuk (885483)
      From a balloon fetish website: Balloon fetishists, who also call themselves looners, balloonophiles, or loonatics, get off on blowing up and/or popping latex balloons. Some looners actually have sex with the balloons by sticking their equipment in the nozzle (obviously, you have to be male to pull this off). Others enjoy putting balloons inside their clothing.
      • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:36PM (#19928551) Homepage Journal
        Some looners actually have sex with the balloons by sticking their equipment in the nozzle (obviously, you have to be male to pull this off).


        Ok, oddball question time. Using the above quote, yes, only a man can stick his equipment inside the balloon. However, what about the reverse? Sticking the balloon inside a woman and GENTLY inflating and deflating it again and again.

        I know, I know, I'm a sick puppy. Aren't we all in some manner?

        • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @02:01PM (#19929857)
          Oddly enough, if you combine the two fetishes (GPs male-only fetish and your female equivalent), you get something entirely normal and even a recommended practice to avoid pregnancy and STDs....
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      Without doing any research whatsoever, I'm going to guess that the reason for the balloon fetish is similar to the reason for the so-called "crush fetish" whereby guys enjoy watching women step on bugs. The latter is due to how, while growing up, their mother would scream and then step on bugs, exciting a lot of surprise and excitement in the child, which molded his psyche and eventually developed into arousal. Similarly, perhaps children got the same sort of panic from balloons popping.
      • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:10PM (#19929103) Homepage

        Without doing any research whatsoever, I'm going to guess that the reason for the balloon fetish is similar to the reason for the so-called "crush fetish" whereby guys enjoy watching women step on bugs.

        I've always thought trying to figure out the root cause for a fetish is kinda pointless unless someone has a really strong obsession which interferes with their normal life and they need clinical care.

        Sure, some people probably do have some fetishes which start out with some kind of Freudian-explainable experience. But, you don't need to rely on a man who used a lot of cocaine and figured everything revolved around how you were potty trained, and how badly you wanted to sleep with/kill your mother to determine why someone might do something for their own pleasure.

        Nowadays, fetishes are so easy to find information on (like, say, a Slashdot article ;-) that you can pretty much do a little research, see if any fetishes might work for you, and then try them on for size. I question if most people involved in any form of fetish play nowadays actually have a truly abnormal physchological fixation with something, or have just rationally decided that, say, latex is cool or whatever.

        Lets face it, go to an adult store and they've got all of the fixin's for fetish play just sitting there. You could just one day decide to try one of them out. Spot a video and decide to watch it. Or, possibly, a partner will suggest it one day just for fun.

        Fetishes don't need to be just irrational/compulsive obsessions any more. They can be conscious decisions that you stumble upon and decide will just be damned fun. As Freud himself said ... sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. (Although, I guess maybe if you choose it, it may not technically be a 'fetish' in the clinical sense. I just view it as a new set of toys you can choose to play with or not.)

        I for one welcome our fully clothed, balloon-popping female overlords.

        Cheers
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

      by A_Non_Moose (413034) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:36PM (#19928557) Homepage Journal

      I've never gotten such spam.

      I'm surprised it was only 30% -- that kind of thing is bound to pique the interest of a whole lotta people.

      (/user looks up from bubble wrap section)

      I (pop) haven't either (pop) but, honestly, (pop!pop!) have no interest in the (pop!pop!pop!pop!) subject.

      Now, clad in bubblewrap (pop), and the eventual popping (pop!pop!) is another subject (pop!pop!).
    • by ookabooka (731013)
      Well I googled (you know. . to uh. . verify the integrity of the summary) but came across something also quite bizarre . . .2 people died [sptimes.com] after crawling into a large helium filled balloon in a rich suburban neighborhood. . .sometimes google surprises me with what it thinks is relevant to my query.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:58AM (#19927935)
    'He sent spam to recovering gambling addicts enticing them to gambling Web sites. He used e-mail addresses of people known to have bought antianxiety medication or antidepressants and targeted them with pharmaceutical spam. '

    Some companies dealing with confidential information clearly have been passing on this information.

    This guy should be forced to disclose where he got the information from, so that these companies can be punished for poor data security, or worse, actually selling such sensitive private information on.

    I also believe that there are laws against the exploitation of vulnerable people, but they're probably next to useless, and poorly defined (or specifically defined, so won't apply to X because it only mentions Y).
    • How many people work at credit card and insurance companies doing low-paid data entry? How much more could they make if they were using some of their time to make lists of names and addresses of people with specific ailments or problems and selling them on the black market?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by middlemen (765373)
        What about the possibility of spammers themselves working as data entry employees and then getting first hand access to data themselves and selling it or using it on the spam market ?
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:58AM (#19927947) Journal
    As long as there is demand, and the business is profitable, you will have spam. Trying to get rid of spammers will only make it more profitable and worth the risks for those remaining. Wake up! It is no different than anything else. The customer drives this business, not the seller. They(the seller) are simply a response. Talk about passing the buck!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      When a spammer intentionally targets gambling addicts with gambling spam, then the spammer deserves blame. I agree that often customers should be chided for supporting the spam business model, but gambling addicts are tormented enough and the blame falls with the spammer who exploits their demons.
    • by Dausha (546002)
      "The customer drives this business, not the seller. They(the seller) are simply a response. Talk about passing the buck!"

      The solution is simple. The Chinese handled problems with the opium trade by killing the addicts. This drove down demand considerably. Perhaps a similar campaign can be waged on email users. I guarantee if all email recipients were killed, there would be a substantial reduction in successful spammers.
    • by sjames (1099)

      Proposal: legalize credit card fraud against spammed products!

      Step 2, DDOS spammers by flooding them with orders to fake addresses using invalid credit card numbers.

  • "the product? A niche type of adult entertainment: photos of fully clothed women popping balloons ... "

    fully clothed in what? nurses uniforms? fettish gear? rubber? a gimp suit?

    popping ballons?! no sir, that is too much. is this some kind of freudian thing?

    my mind boggles.

    • by nmos (25822)
      "the product? A niche type of adult entertainment: photos of fully clothed women popping balloons ... "

      fully clothed in what? nurses uniforms? fettish gear? rubber? a gimp suit?


      Well, fully clothed in balloons of course!
  • by Nimey (114278) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:59AM (#19927955) Homepage Journal
    ...but part of me wants there to be a very special hell for spammers (and people who talk in the theater).
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by slimyrubber (791109)
      > "Yes, I know I'm going to hell," said Ed."

      Aren't _all_ sales person?
    • by zarthrag (650912)
      Firefly reference?
    • The people who talk in theatre are watching their favorite movie for eternity, except the seat behind them holds a fully-clothed women popping balloons. And the seats to either side of them hold the men who are buying the videos of the fully-clothed women popping balloons.

      Hmm, I wonder if Satan would pay me a usage fee if I trademarked that. Eh, probably not, he has enough lawyers to fight his way out of it.
  • ob ATHF (Score:4, Funny)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:59AM (#19927969) Homepage
    Enjoy!
    http://www.vimeo.com/78881 [vimeo.com]
    • wow. I think that's the first time I've seen an 'obligatory' ATHF.

      But yes. very applicable. (make the homies say ho, and the girlies wanna SCREAM!)
  • Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:02PM (#19927999) Homepage Journal
    Under the assumption that no one does nothing for nothing, this is good news as it indicates that the risk benifit curve has shifted so that selling a book is better money than spamming.

    It is like those get rich quick schemes on paid TV. If it were so easy, then why is the promoter not making the million dollars a week instead of making cheesy commercials. If I made a million a week for a year, I certainly would not be on TV telling everyone about it, at the risk of reducing my real profit opportuities. I would hiding out in my fortress of richness and enjoying the money.

    This also reinforces my assumption that for the most part spamming is just a way to make some easy money without much real work. Most people are not going to get rich off it, but if one is a country where a few thousand a year is good money, then hey, it beats doing honest work. It might even product the 20K a year one needs to live in the US. But like any organized crime, a few get insanely rich, and the rest get knocked off for pocket change.

    • If it were so easy, then why is the promoter not making the million dollars a week instead of making cheesy commercials.

      I'm not saying all late-night TV schemers are legit (few are, imo). But once you've made your first million or so, you are pretty much set (Invest 3/4 of it and your RoR on a mediocre year is over 50k). You might as well train the 'next generation' with the understanding you get to tap a few % of what they make as overhead.
    • this is good news as it indicates that the risk benifit curve has shifted so that selling a book is better money than spamming.

      Not really -- it probably indicative of him being tired of living an underground life and having to watch his back. And he's certainly sitting on good money. Like other markets (drugs, etc.) some people will push until they make enough money they are content with, then pack it in. It's just a calculated risk -- pursue something long enough to reach a certain cash goal, and if yo
      • its just like that song "the Gambler" hes at the walk away stage of the game some folks are at the RUN stage and then some are at the " can i get to Cheyene Mountain in time" stage
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by reaper (10065)
      It's pretty easy to see why someone would write a book about their success plan, instead of continuing it: More Money!

      Take the "Make millions in real estate" category. It works... in fact, it's so rock-stupidly simple that TLC has shows about it now with people who really have no business in real estate somehow managing not to lose money. Sure, most of those people are only making $100K-$200K per year at it, but they don't do it for a living.

      So, why don't these millionaire-author guys keep doing it? Because
      • by Brickwall (985910)
        Take the "Make millions in real estate" category. It works... in fact, it's so rock-stupidly simple that TLC has shows about it now with people who really have no business in real estate somehow managing not to lose money. Sure, most of those people are only making $100K-$200K per year at it, but they don't do it for a living.

        So, why don't these millionaire-author guys keep doing it? Because it's hard work all the time. Books, OTOH, are hard work for the time taken to research, write, and promote it.... b

    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lena_10326 (1100441) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:30PM (#19928477) Homepage

      This also reinforces my assumption that for the most part spamming is just a way to make some easy money without much real work. Most people are not going to get rich off it, but if one is a country where a few thousand a year is good money, then hey, it beats doing honest work. It might even product the 20K a year one needs to live in the US. But like any organized crime, a few get insanely rich, and the rest get knocked off for pocket change.
      I know an owner of a legitimate "spam" business. The owner grosses over $20 million a year with an approximate 50% margin of profit. The amount of money made depends on several factors that are difficult to maintain over time, which is why you don't see everyone making 10's of millions dollars off spam.
      • a clean email list - cleaning an email list requires sending an email and not receiving a bounce. There is risk in testing the email because if you test too many bad ones you can get blocked, but once it's tested it's worth considerably more than an unclean email.
      • list of active users - users who opened or clicked. An order of magnitude more valuable than a clean email.
      • relationships - avoiding email blocks and getting unblocked
      • distributed servers - avoid email blocks by sending from and rotating multiple IPs. The more you have, the more stable the delivery is.
      • delivery - your email has to make it to the inbox. An order of magnitude more valuable than Bulk box delivery. Bulk delivery is still better than no delivery, which can be the case if you're blocked.
      If you have all those factors in your favor, you can sustain the profits, which is what the major "legitimate" commercial emailers do. The true spammers are usually a bit more shitty, using trojans and disposable accounts, but achieve the same effect, usually at the cost of the ISP, however they're risking jail time if they're caught.

      • Shoot. I missed one. You also need:
        • steady influx of new emails - the list will degrade over time, so you need to replace those emails to maintain a constant list size

        Now with legitimate spammers, they will honor complaints and unsubscribes. Processing them quickly does help a lot, because you can just repurchase the email on another list and continue slamming the hell out of them until they unsub once again. Heh. You just purchase or create new "lists" ad nauseum to get keep them active. Heh.

        The on

      • by ShinmaWa (449201)
        Remove the word "legitimate" and take the quotes off the word spam. There's no difference between what you (I'm sorry, the 'owner you know') do and what you call "true spammers" do. You are still dealing in unsolicited commercial mass emails that people don't want.

        In fact, looking over your list of what makes this enterprise "legitimate", every single one of them involves circumventing and defeating the protections that people and ISPs spend a lot of time and money to put up and maintain to keep this mai
        • Remove the word "legitimate" and take the quotes off the word spam. There's no difference between what you (I'm sorry, the 'owner you know') do and what you call "true spammers" do. You are still dealing in unsolicited commercial mass emails that people don't want.

          Legitimate as in.. not breaking any laws. There are lots of slimy things you can do that aren't illegal.

          You are still dealing in unsolicited commercial mass emails that people don't want.

          That's baloney. If they didn't want it, they wouldn't

      • Every day I get spam from "legitimate" businesses like DiscoverCard, my College (AZ State U)'s Alumni Association, and even my mortgage company (Countrywide). Just because these asshats are BIG deals or have some ongoing business relationship with me does NOT legitimize their spam - it remains unsolicited and unwanted.

        Sears and Craftsman tools are the worst - everyday there's something.

        You guys need to understand that when Chen Lin sends me penis enlargement spams & offers for fake Rolex watches there
        • Again, I'm taking names, and you guys are _very_ easy to filter:

          I'm not a spammer, so I object to your use of the "you" pronoun.
          ____

          Anyway, nice sentiment in your post, however there's something you should realize. Your opinion doesn't matter because you're one individual among a group of spam recipients. You won't click an ad and purchase, but for every one of you there are 100 of your peers that will.

          When it comes to understanding why spam works, you have to think in terms of group social behavior

          • by ShinmaWa (449201)

            I'm not a spammer, so I object to your use of the "you" pronoun.

            Bull. You doth protest too much, methinks, and you know far too much about this business "the owner you know" has to not be a part of it somehow. I suspect you see this owner every time you look in the mirror.

            You won't click an ad and purchase, but for every one of you there are 100 of your peers that will.

            Actually, it's the other way around. With less than 1% response rate, for every one of us that won't there's another 100 of us that also won't.

    • Under the assumption that no one does nothing for nothing, this is good news as it indicates that the risk benifit curve has shifted so that selling a book is better money than spamming.

      At a certain point, would have a very small marginal effect on quality of life. Whereas, writing a book about it gains him notoriety/fame, which he cannot easily buy.

      Someone who is relatively poor might be quite willing to take the risk of spamming (see Todd Moeller, the bit player who went state's evidence in the Adam Vi

  • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:02PM (#19928003)

    But Ed said he once got a 30 percent response rate for a campaign. The product? A niche type of adult entertainment: photos of fully clothed women popping balloons ... "Yes, I know I'm going to hell," said Ed.

    This seems like the least objectionable use of spam. There seem to be three problems with spam.

    First, truely evil spam that contains malware, fraudulent offers, or other things that people might call the police about if it arrived via snail-mail (I'm assuming the adult entertainment site was just pornography and not malware infested).

    Second, that the spammer uses botnets to accomplish his goal, which is to hid his operation because of spam-filtering/laws etc (I'm assuming the botnet is just for anonimity, as a huge e-mail server shouldn't be that costly to run.)

    Finally, that we are diluged in 3,000-1,000,000 e-mails a day for crap we don't want. But a 30% success rate means that the ads were fairly well targeted and most people did want them. Ignoring for the moment the scary database that produces these lists, if you got 10 pieces of spam offering you legitimite, cheap things you may want to buy, I don't think people would be upset at all. In fact, it might make a good e-commerce site. [midnightbox.com]

    • by Jellybob (597204)
      A mail server isn't that expensive to run, but if you're a spammer then it's going to need it's IP address changing on a regular basis, since it's going to get blacklisted frequently.

      That's the advantage of a botnet - if you've got enough zombies in your network then there's no way they're all going to get blacklisted, and it's possible to replace nodes that have been quick enough that it won't make much difference.
    • Get off my lawn. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Valdrax (32670) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:46PM (#19928721)
      Ignoring for the moment the scary database that produces these lists, if you got 10 pieces of spam offering you legitimite, cheap things you may want to buy, I don't think people would be upset at all. In fact, it might make a good e-commerce site.

      I would. I'd mind terribly. Putting aside the creepy privacy issues (which would be enough to set me off), I just simply don't like push advertising at all. I don't want my life to interrupted by people interjecting their pleas for me to give them my money for crap I don't need.

      I don't like TV ads. I don't like radio ads. I don't like billboards. I don't like fliers on phone poles. I HATE people who stick menus in my apartment door, I HATE telemarketers, and I'd hate spammers too even if they were selling me things I want. I have a habit of stopping doing business with any business that gets too pushy with its advertising (like the people who stick menus in your door), and a spam for something I want is the best way to keep me from ever buying it (at least from that vendor).

      The only kind of advertising that I like is the kind where you list a product in some public forum, and I find it when I decide I'm in the market for it. (e.g. Froogle.) Anything that tries to come and find me to tell me how wonderful my life would be if I just bought it is annoying. (And God forbid an ad actually be effective and influence me to do something unwise with my money.) Unless your ad entertains me, go away.

      (And yes, I realize that I am on the far end of crotchety about advertising, but that's just my opinion.)
      • For the most part, I am just like you. I throw away almost every advertisement without looking first. If I want something, I will do my own research.
  • I think I got a spam e-mail today hawking this book.
  • Balloon Popping?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Damn! A balloon fetish? Who would have thought? Ain't the Internet great?

    For the lazy, see http://www.mellyloon.com/ [mellyloon.com] and http://www.looneynudes.com/preview/lnasampl.html [looneynudes.com] and others (Google away, dudes).

    Oddly, it's just not appealing to me. I'm not be the Slashdot uber-geek I thought I was. Now perhaps, balloon pooping . . .
  • That makes it profitable, and because of that, spam will continue.

    The only way to get rid of spam is for everyone on the planet to swear off buying anything based on spam based advertising. I know I never respond to spam, but there's always going to be that one person who does...
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:15PM (#19928253)
    It all comes back to the who risk/reward thing. Lower the ratio enough, and you'll find fewer people willing to do it. So on the one side is increasing the risk. Used to be spam had no risk, other than maybe somebody punching you if they found out what you did for a living. Now there's starting to be some risk as a few spammers are getting prosecuted. So that's the first part of the solution is to grow the risk. Get better at having criminal and civil penalties dropped on spammers.

    Then, of course, there's reducing the reward, the amount of people who respond. This is a technical solution in the form of better spam filtering. It's already getting much better. Even just 5 years ago it was still somewhat rare to see ISPs filter their mail, now virtually all of them do. Also the filtering itself is getting better. Rather than just rely on a simple analysis of a given message it is cross checking messages, some of it even across different organizations. By improving this we can drastically drop the number of people they are able to successfully contact and thus lower the reward. If 1 in 100 spams go to someone, you don't need many of those someones to respond to make some money. However if less than 1 in 10,000,000 go through, you need a much higher response rate to make it worth while.

    So while there's not a silver bullet it IS something that can be mitigated by going at it from a couple of different ways. If it goes from something you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on with zero risk to something that it's hard to make a couple grand a month on that is likely to put you in prison, the number of spammers will start dropping.
    • by ftobin (48814) *
      You have a good point, but you're assuming that the risk is increasing as the filtering techniques get better. The risk only exists if your spam gets through, as I find it improbable that authorities will go after spam that gets blocked. So, similar numbers of pieces of spam have to still get through for the risk to remain level or increasing. It also might be true that if there is a correlation between spam getting through and prosecution, filtering among the less-likely-to-buy victims might induce less
  • Born Every Minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:20PM (#19928311)
    From the article:

    The ultimate unsolvable problem is users, who continue to buy products marketed by spam, making the industry possible.

    Huh. There's a sucker born every minute. [wikipedia.org] The Interenet hasn't changed human nature - just given the con men more tools.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Honestly, technically I don't care if idiots buy spam products. The trouble is that e-mail is so cheap they can carpet bomb us trying to find the idiots. If I just could keep any spam from entering my inbox, they can buy penis enlargement pills, fake viagra, penny stocks and 411 scams all day long for all I care. A fool and his money will always part ways anyhow, and it's not in any way for their protection I want to exterminate spam. I just want them to leave me the hell out of it.
  • Innocuous? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Icon (124425) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:21PM (#19928331) Homepage
    Yes, let's see... women forced to do something that they are frightened of... complete with shrieks, wincing, and hesitation.

    Now, let's think of the kinds of people who would pay money to watch that...

    Thought so.
  • If I were a juror, I would under no circumstances punish someone for pirating this guy's book.
  • If all the spam were really targeted that well, I doubt there'd be so much animosity to the problem (except from credit service companies and psychologists who treat addicted gamblers).

    What gets me is that after twenty years of using email, and 15 years of getting spam email, and 10 years with the same email address, I am currently getting a breakdown of spams like this (numbers guessed but not unrealistically):

    • 600/wk prescription or herbal drug offers
    • 400/wk money transfer scams
    • 300/wk stock pump-n-du
  • I don't think, this article was written by a real (ex-)spammer. Either that, or it has been too heavily edited be plausible.

    If he deliberately targeted only recovering gambling addicts or only people in need of particular drugs, he is not even a spammer by some of the (vague) definitions — spammers carpet-bomb all addresses they can reach, without trying to narrow down to the (relatively) small groups of addressees, as a more responsible marketeer would do (not to defend those types).

    But, wait a m

  • So am I going to get four copies of the book every week in my real mailbox in packages with nonexistent return addresses while a guy punches me, takes my credit card, and bills me for the books?
  • Has anyone seen the book? I would be interested in it if it provided sufficient technical details about how the spammer operated. (Though, I think I'd be more tempted to steal the book than actually buy it.)
  • It seems that this "New book" is actually three years old. Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side [amazon.com] (November 1, 2004).

    JP


  • Spammers pay real money for botnets/phishing websites etc, but their return is higher
    than their expenses so they continue to plague us. Our spamfiltering solutions may
    diminish their return, but apparently not enough.

    One interesting approach (from MIT Spam Conference) was these guys (SPAMALOT), who basically interact with the spammer as much as possible.

    http://acm.cs.uic.edu/~lszyba1/ [uic.edu]

    I really think its a good idea. If a spammer is trying to get a credit card, give them 50000 phonies. Imagine what would ha
  • MASSIVE Violation (Score:2, Informative)

    by l33tDad (1118795)

    He used e-mail addresses of people known to have bought antianxiety medication or antidepressants and targeted them with pharmaceutical spam.

    I work at a hospital and am involved in HIPAA regulation compliance. This one line is proof that some company, hospital, care giver, pharmacy or what ever seriously violated HIPAA regulations by disclosing that information. By law that would make the spammer liable and force him to disclose his information for further prosecution of who ever gave him the list(s) of people on medication.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Insurance_Port ability_and_Accountability_Act [wikipedia.org]

Their idea of an offer you can't refuse is an offer... and you'd better not refuse.

Working...