Linda, this is cool!

Tim Peters tim.one at home.com
Sun Feb 18 06:08:07 CET 2001


[Steve D. Perkins]
> I will never understand why spam still exists, the internet reaching the
> level of development and maturity is has.

The sophistication of the technology has nothing to do with the
sophistication of the users, and new users keep pouring in.  Remember the
first time you ever got an email?  Didn't you get a thrill out of it?  It
can take quite a while for people to catch on to scams.  For example, look
at all the people who use Python or Perl <wink>.

> I can't imagine that there's ANYONE left anymore dumb and/or
> internet-inexperienced to purchase anything advertised through spam.

You must be joking.  The vast bulk of the world's population has yet to see
their first piece of spam.

> Even if there is, I don't understand why spammers would target
> newsgroups for Tcl, Python, and Perl... technologies most often
> used by crusty old-timers LEAST likely of all to be an effective
> target audience...

Because the marginal cost of sending out one more piece of email spam is
essentially nothing.  The "junk mail" you get in your snail-mail box is
carefully targeted, because that costs real money to send out.  Even so, a
direct mail marketer is ecstatic if they get a 3% response rate.  Spam
emailers can make a profit on a response rate thousands of times smaller.
If one person in a million responds, cool -- send 1, send 50 million, it
costs them about the same except for the effort of gathering that many
addresses.  While it makes compelling economic sense for a snail-mail
spammer to spend money on weeding out hopeless addresses, it makes no
economic sense for an email spammer to weed out anything, provided the cost
of sending out another million is a close approximation to nothing.

Sometimes the obvious explanation is right:  spam persists simply because
"good" spammers take in more money than they shell out.  It's the American
way <wink>.

Speaking of which, who do I complain to?  I responded to an ad in my inbox
guaranteeing I could lose 10 inches in one day!  Turns out they weren't
lying -- but a 3-inch dick isn't as much fun as my old one ...





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