Spamonomics 101

The biggest thing I've wondered about spam is: Why do the spammers even bother? They spend an enormous amount of effort, time, and (I expect) money to deliver huge quantities of mail to my inbox, which I then spend an enormous amount of effort, time, and (for some people) money to delete unseen and unread. How is this profitable for the spammers?

Last week I talked to Ken Simpson and Stas Bekman of MailChannels, a spam-fighting solution provider. The answer to my question is that the business of spamming is profitable, sometimes enormously so, but it's a volume business and the percentage of profit over that volume is quite small. Spammers are the door-to-door salesmen who knock on every door in the neighborhood to get one sale. Except the neighborhood is the entire planet, and the number of doors they can knock simultaneously is only limited by the cost of computing power. That cost is the key point in the economics of spam: spammers have to get out a high enough volume of spam that the small sliver of profit is greater than the cost of sending it. O'Reilly Radar > Spamonomics 101

Linked by shanmuga Monday, 15th January 2007 11:59PM