How Much Do Spammers Make?
The International Computer Science Institute once performed a detailed test to calculate the income of an average spammer. Although some industry professionals disagreed, the Institute came up with the final figure of $7,000 daily.
With so much information available detailing the dangers of spam, one may wonder why spam is still so prolific. The reason is simple: easy money. Even with multiple warnings, including those that I repeatedly offer, not to open spam, there are still a few who ignore those warnings. A few clicks is all that is required for a spammer to make money. Remember, spammers send out millions of emails at a time. It really just takes a few clicks to make any difference.
Meet Phil, the average computer user. When Phil reads the subject line of the spam email that slips past his spam filter, he wonders if he should open it. His laptop is getting old and he could definitely use a free one. Phil is no dummy. He knows that he probably won’t get a completely free laptop, but maybe it’s a link to a contest and he can win a laptop. He opens the email and clicks the link. Although nothing horrible happens to Phil’s computer, his purchase through a spam-based offer has just made the spammer money. Money, of course, is every spammers main incentive.
To get a better understanding of how simple it is for spammers to make a lot of money, imagine that a spammer sends out 250,000,000 emails. Now let’s cut that number in half. That leaves us with 125,000,000 spam sent. Of course, not every one of those emails will reach its target (thank goodness), but even 40% of our halved number is 50,000,000 emails. Assuming that just half of those emails are opened and viewed by someone cuts the number to 25,000,000. Finally, let’s say that a measly 1% of those who view the email actually buy something. Including Phil, everyone ends up paying a contest fee for chance to win a laptop. If the fee is $59.99, that’s nearly $150,000! With a vague example like this one, we can definitely get an idea of just how “easy” the “easy money” is for a spammer.
Phil’s example reminds us that spam is not just about filling our bulk email folders or rolling our eyes over silly subject titles. It isn’t even simply about avoiding damage to your PC. It’s also about discouraging spammers from doing what they do. If merely a few people support spam by clicking and buying anything, that’s still incentive for them to continue misusing the beneficial tool that we all have come to rely on – the Internet.
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