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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2006-10-31 23:14:45

have you noticed a surge in spam recently? i know i have. the spam filters at work break down now and then, letting through a flood of spam. even while they're up, i still get a few spam making it out to my blackberry every day.

the weird thing is, most of the spam i get isn't even advertising-based. it's just random garbage to get the bayesian filters messed up, so that the real spam can get through. what i'm wondering is how it can still be cost-efficient for the spammers to do this. an increase in non-advertising spam (let's call it spoofing spam) costs them more not only because of the extra bandwidth, but also because people who get spoofing spam are less likely to read the real spam. or so i would assume - if you get one viagra email every once in a while, i would think you'd be more likely to read it than if you got one viagra email mixed in with a dozen spoofing spams.

i guess the first point (more bandwidth, hence more cost) isn't really valid though, given that they're using botnets to spread the spam. in fact, it probably makes it cheaper, since we're doing the work to spam ourselves. go us!

as much as i would love for some cracker to write a virus to take the spammers down by force, i don't think that that's a long-term solution - as long as it's economically beneficial for the spammers to keep spamming, well, they're going to keep at it. taking down a handful of spammers will only give room for others to grow. and of course, the laws of evolution still applies - the spammers that survive will be the fittest of the lot.

so how do we get rid of spam? we need to make it economically detrimental to send spam. assume it's free to send an email (which, for the spammers with botnets, it is). zero cost, so we need to reduce the benefit to zero as well. that's hard to do. according to various sources, spammers seem to be making money not from actual product sales, but from per-impression ad views. they also seem to be recycling money by selling email addresses to each other, which doesn't seem to be too lucrative, so we can probably ignore that.

so, my conclusion is that per-impression ad payments should be abolished. either that, or IE should be outfitted with some sort of decent ad-blocking technology, turned ON by default. i'm not sure which is harder :)

Posted by Eric at 2006-11-01 09:39:14
<a href="">You're not the only one that's noticed</a>
[ Reply to this ]
Posted by varun at 2006-11-01 11:07:46
eric beat me to it. ;)

yeah, this openid thing is even more bothersome than the captcha. i'd rather be "varun" than
[ Reply to this ]
Posted by stak at 2006-11-01 12:42:45
it's only bothersome because you didn't read the whole thing. in particular, this.
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