IT Support: What’s the Value Proposition of Spam?

A common question our customers ask is “why am I getting so much spam?” This is a great question, as we rely on our email program to identify spam and quickly archive it in our spam folder. Spam messages that are received from offering pills we don’t want or to spread things we don’t want spread or to inform us about the wealth found in Nigeria are usually removed immediately. So do I keep getting them?

Believe it or not, there are people who take the bait and buy V1aGra or believe they can earn thousands a week clicking on websites or are eager to collect their newest Nigerian wealth. Anti-spam experts predict that spam will end when people stop taking action. Hmm, when do you think it will happen?

While gullible souls create the demand side of the value proposition, how much does it cost to create the spam in the first place? For a few thousand dollars, you can rent software agents or robots that run anonymously and can automatically send 100 million emails. Probably no more than 25 V1agra orders are needed to cover the cost. That’s only 000025%! This means that the 26th recipient starts to earn money. How many fools do you think there are in 100 million people? That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? PT Barnum said a fool was born every minute, so it appears the target market for spam will support those who believe it for the foreseeable future.

Successful spammers are smart people. The emails that contained the word Viagra in the message were classified as spam by spam filters, so the spammers changed the spelling to V1agra. Later, spam filters got smarter, so spammers started sending URLs or images. Google implemented technology to capture those images, and spammers respond by dividing the images into various out-of-focus parts of the original image. The large ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Yahoo, Google, et al) determine the IP addresses that spammers use and block them (blacklist) from receiving emails from them. Spammers then find unused IPs from trusted sources or hack into the email accounts of innocent people and use them to beat the blacklist. So the catch-22 effect continues.

The good news is that the anti-spam guys are just as smart, if not smarter, in their quest to stop spam. They continue to find ways to prevent spam from reaching their inbox. The challenge is that you don’t want legitimate messages to be classified as spam, so the spam filters should be a bit lazy. After all, it is legitimate for a urologist to email their provider, patient, or partner regarding Viagra. That is why some spam reaches your inbox.

Most email programs allow you to identify a message as spam or to identify a message that was classified as spam as non-spam. You can help the spam filter do a better job in the future, if instead of deleting a spam message in your inbox, you use your email client’s feature to mark it as spam. This should influence future decisions made by the spam filter.

It is also up to each user to do a quick scan of their spam folder to make sure there are no legitimate messages there. If there is, use your email program to mark it as Safe Sender (or Not Spam, each email program is a little different). When you’re done with your scan, empty the folder and let it start to fill up again.

If you have questions about a better antispam solution software or the features of your email software, please leave us a support ticket or contact us and we will get back to you with an answer.

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