We all know that spam works because the evil spammers send out millions of spam e-mails - at almost no cost - and a tiny, teeny-weeny percentile of those who receive it fall for it. Even if 0.01% of people fell for it that would be 100 people in 1,000,000 and that would be worth it to them. Quite how anyone ever thinks, 'hmmm... I don't remember contacting this company to ask about a mortgage but that rate is pretty tempting...' is beyond me but it matters not.
Because I have an e-mail address in the public domain where anybody (and any bot) can find it I get a lot of spam. Over 1,000 a day. Almost all of it is successfully filtered into my junk file and goes unread but some inevitably slips through to my inbox. Where it goes unread because, while my computer hasn't spotted it's spam, I have.
Recently, I've been fascinated by one particular brand of spam that is getting through the filters on a regular basis. As you can see:
It seems to me that by sending the same e-mail to me 5 times in the same minute (and then again, 2 minutes later) they don't help their cause. Presumably they think that by sending it so many times (and with slight variations in the content) they are increasing their chances of getting through people's defences and having at least one e-mail land successfully where that 1 in 10,000 idiot might send them some money. But surely when they all arrive at the same time like that, even the 1 in 10,000 idiot is going to think something is up.
I mean, what are the chances of 5 different Corine OLearys sending me 6 almost identical e-mails in such a short space of time? And then 3 different Catalina Spicers doing the same thing 37 minutes later. By sending 9 e-mails like that they haven't made it 9 times more likely to succeed... surely they've just made it 9 times less believable.
In effect, they've done more work but reduced their hit rate from, say, 0.01% to 0.001111% (recurring) which is a dreadful thing to do to their profits. If they were making $1,000 a month by getting 1 e-mail through, they'll reduce that to $111 by getting 9 through. Which means that with a hit rate of only 0.001111% (recurring) they'll need to hit 9 times as many people in order to make the same amount of profit as before.
So to get the same return out of sending a million people one e-mail each, they'd have to send 9 million people 9 e-mails each which is 81 million e-mails instead of 1 million e-mails. That's 80 million more e-mails for no increase in return. What ridiculous goons they are.
Of course, to get through the filters what they do is change small variables in the content (not just the middle initial of the apparent sender) so that the anti-spam programs can't spot a pattern. When you see the variables they use you start to realise that they're reducing their options even further:
I mean... while it's a stretch to imagine anyone falling for any of it... if I accept that somewhere there's a chap falling for the 'Girls always laughed at me' pitch, surely even he wouldn't take the 'Baronesses always whizgiggled at me' pitch seriously. Would he?
Is there anyone in the world thinking, 'damn those baronesses. And those gars with their whizgiggling, I'm never using a national comfort station again. If only my putz was more preponderant than civil... then I'd have the last smile.'