Why Spam will be hard to stop — it’s fantastically profitable

Why Spam will be hard to stop — it’s fantastically profitable

Like everyone else, I receive email invitations every day to purchase pills which will enhance some aspect of my sexual performance. As I delete these I’m thinking “Who would be daft enough to fall for this?”. Actually, it seems that an astonishing number of people are. This riveting Wired article outlines what was revealed when a spam-marketing firm left its customer log inadvertently exposed on the Web.

Amazing Internet Products’ websites revealed that, over a four-week period, some 6,000 people responded to e-mail ads and placed orders for the company’s Pinacle herbal ‘penis-enlarging’ supplement. Most customers ordered two bottles of the pills at a price of $50 per bottle. That’s $600,000 for selling hot air.

Eh? And who’s buying this crap? “Among the people who responded in July to Amazing’s spam, which bore the subject line, “Make your penis HUGE,” was the manager of a $6 billion mutual fund, who ordered two bottles of Pinacle to be shipped to his Park Avenue office in New York City. A restaurateur in Boulder, Colorado, requested four bottles. The president of a California firm that sells airplane parts and is active in the local Rotary Club gave out his American Express card number to pay for six bottles, or $300 worth, of Pinacle. The coach of an elementary school lacrosse club in Pennsylvania ordered four bottles of the pills.

Other customers included the head of a credit-repair firm, a chiropractor, a veterinarian, a landscaper and several people from the military. Numerous women also were evidently among Amazing Internet’s customers.”

The naivete of the customers is also astonishing. As Wired puts it, “All were evidently undaunted by the fact that Amazing’s order site contained no phone number, mailing address or e-mail address for contacting the company. Nor were they seemingly concerned that their order data, including their credit card info, addresses and phone numbers, were transmitted to the site without the encryption used by most legitimate online stores. ”