Don't try this at home
I wrote about the economics of spam earlier:

P$ = [N * (I% * S% * W% * B% * M$)] – (N * E$) – (L% * C% * R$)
where
P$ = profit, bottom-line

N = number of emails sent (can be millions!)
I% = % of addresses that are valid/correct
S% = % of addresses that are not intercepted by anti-spam software
W% = % of emails to cause the receiver to go visit the website
B% = % of site visitors that actually buy the product
M$ = margin per product sold

E$ = cost of sending 1 email

L% = risk of having legal action taken against you
C% = risk of getting convicted when you’re in court
R$ = average fine you would have to pay

What I often ask wonder about is the B%: people that actually buy the product. People actually order blue pills upon receiving emails like the one above? People believe they have been chosen to transfer millions of dollars out of some banana-republic?

So I have 2 questions (presuming the audience on this blog is clever enough not to buy through spam sollicitations themselves):

  • who knows someone who has bought spam-advertised stuff?
  • who knows someone who knows someone who has bought …?

There really is a task there for public television:

In de Gloria - Tom van Dyck en Wim Opbrouck

“And today we visit … Kevin! Kevin, you are now live on TV. You ordered something through the Internet, didn’t you, Kevin. You thought I was just the mailman delivering, but no, I am not. I am Tom Van Dyke, and you’re on “Spam Pigeon of the Week” ! Now, let’s see what you just ordered, let’s open the package. What did the spam mail say, Kevin? Hours of guaranteed pleasure? Make your girlfriend ask for more? Ha-ha-ha! Ok, it’s a box, and the box has a label that says … “Golden Enhancement Package”? Now what would we want to enhance, Kevin? Oh look, it’s a … (gets hit in the face with box)