Spam is a problem that has existed since the start of the commercialisation of the internet. In a 2007 survey 4% of email users said they have ordered products in response to an unsollicited mail. In a more recent survey from the bbc the response rate of a spam email is 1 in 12,5 million. Even though this is extremely small, they still turn a profit.
But why does it exist? I’ve done some research on the subject and here are the most common reasons:
Some people actually read spam and click. The force of spam is in the numbers. If you have a clickthrough rate of less than 1% but you send to a million addresses, 10.000 people will have clicked the message. Percentage wise this is not much, but it still is a large number if you look at it any other way.
Some companies still hire spammers to push their product. They know the response rate is minimal, but again, the strenght is in the numbers.
Advance Fee Fraud
The company gives you an extremly attractive offer but askes for a deposit. Of course the offer is bogus but they still get your deposit.
Once a target is hooked. You can pretty much do anything with their data. Revenues have risen over the years to make it a business of millions of dollars.
When using a stand-alone email program, there is always a possibility to receive spam with an attachment. If you open this or it is opened automatically, there is no telling of what it can do to your computer. This is another form of identity theft. They can get your details from mails or accounting programs, install dial-up software to charge whenever you connect, anything you can think of really.
So why does it exist? Spammers have automated their activities in such a way that they don’t need a lot of workforce anymore or even a legal entity. This way they can sell their product to small businesses for an extremely low price. Think about it: if they tell you your ad wil be seen by at least 200.000 people and you only have to pay 50 dollar, wouldn’t you consider it?