Spam mails are everywhere and everyday. There is a question, "Is spamming really profitable?" One "academic" paper try to answer this question. They set up the bot net, set up fake web pages, send spam mails (350million spam emails in their experience), observe how many can go through, how many comes to the web page, and how many actually buy the medicine. This is the paper: Kanich et al. Spamalytics: an empirical analysis of spam marketing conversion. CASM, 2009, Vol.52, No.9, pp.99-107
I do not know how, but they claims it they cleared U.S. legal doctrine and ethics.
The authors said, "We would be the first to admit that these results represents a single data point and are not necessarily representative of spam as a whole." and they even said there is some danger to interpret the result's means. But, for 28 days experience, 350 million spam mails are sent, 82 million delivered (but, of course they do not know how many are shown up in user's inbox, most of them might be just filtered to the spam folder.), more than 10,000 web page visitors, and 28 purchased the medicine. The transaction was 2800 dollars. 100 dollars/day transaction. Their method only uses 1.5 % of the botnet ability, so, 7000 to 9500 dollars/day transaction are extrapolated. Of course there is a machine and human cost and also the business cost (if the spammer does the business) are not included, but, it could be profitable. This is an interesting paper.
3 days ago