spam from the list

Frank Shute frank at
Thu Jun 5 11:51:40 BST 2003

On Wed, Jun 04, 2003 at 01:45:30PM +0100, James wrote:
> > Which raises another question I've always wanted answering - spam must
> work
> > otherwise people wouldn't send it. So, who is it that receives a spam and
> > decides to respond to some hairbrain home-working scheme or genital
> > enlargement product? I accept that out of 6 billion people on the planet,
> 3
> > billion will be of below average intelligence, but surely not enough
> people
> > to make it fiscally worthwhile are that stupid?
> Depends what you mean by fiscally worthwhile, because generally it's a high
> volume per unit bandwidth and they're generally looking for a conversion
> ratio in the fraction of a percentage point to recoup any losses brought by
> paying bandwidth charges and incorporating shell companies that collapse
> upon presentation of any lawsuits.  

Certainly you hear about people still falling for the Nigerian scam &
only a few months ago a secretary in a law firm bought into it. The
returns on that sort of spam is significant in proportion to outlay I

The penis enlargement stuff is beyond my comprehension but then all
human vanity is (do a search for `pumping parties'). I think people
with worthless, empty lives are the target for this sort of thing.

The `make money NOW!' stuff is always going to get takers amongst the

> I've read somewhere that the larger portion of the trade is
> generally people brokering their email address lists to each other.

Most of the spam I get is from people trawling Usenet (although I
mangle my From: field) & despite using this email address for a number
of years I only get a pretty low volume of spam. The most irritating
thing I get are viruses (huge Windows executables), not because they
represent any sort of threat to me but because they suck up all my
bandwidth for several minutes.

> Recently a friend of mine had their server probed,
> alledgedly from an Orbs database, by a ROKSO outfit in Seattle.
> Unfortunately the people that sold him the server 'forgot' to put in SMTP
> authetication, so he found himself sending out 60,000 emails...
> I told him to pull the plug and get the server company in straight away.
> What irks me more are the companies that contract out spamming...recently
> the RSPCA did it, and I had a wonderful conversation with Admiral Insurance
> Group over a piece of email I received inviting me to a competition to win a
> laptop from a third party.  

What irks me about these companies is not so much the spam itself but
that it is such a clueless way to sell. I think the perceived wisdom
is that you put off more people than you attract.

> I tend to prefix submitted email addresses with
> the name of the site I submitted it to.  I was informed that three-quarters
> of the way down their privacy statement was a link to a form where I could
> 'opt-out'.
> Suffice to say that I will never use their services because of this policy,
> and I don't respond to any unsolicited advertising, although I do have fun
> with cold-callers.

I'm constantly getting 'phoned by double glazing people and lately
credit card companies trying to sell me their services....the number
of people employed trying to sell things makes the mind boggle; it's
surprising that there's anybody left over to actually make anything.

Can you imagine how cheap everything would be if people weren't
employed in sales? I think I saw that Ford UK's advertising budget is
100 million a year. That's 100 million less going to make a decent
product & one good reason why I would never buy a Ford.



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