Computer Support: What’s the Value Proposition for Spam? (By Luthando)

A common question that our customers ask is “why do I get so much spam?” This is a great question as we depend on our email program to identify spam and promptly file in our Junk (or Spam) folder. The Spam messages that get by offering pills we don’t want or to extend things we don’t want extended or to advise us of Nigerian found wealth are usually promptly deleted. So do I keep getting them?

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

While gullible souls create the demand side of the value proposition, what does it cost to create the spam in the first place? For a few thousand dollars, one can rent software agents, or robots that run anonymously and automatically can send out 100 million emails. It probably takes not many more than 25 V1agra orders to cover the cost. That is only.000025%! This means they start make money on the 26th taker. How many suckers do you think are in a 100 million people? That is a scary thought, isn’t it? P. T. Barnum said there was a sucker born every minute, so it looks like the target market for spam will support those who create it for the foreseeable future.

Successful spammers are clever folks. Emails that contained the word Viagra in the message were classified as spam by the spam filters, so the spammers change the spelling to V1agra. Then the spam filters got smarter so the spammers started sending URLs or pictures. Google implemented technology to catch those images and the spammers respond by splitting up the pictures into several out-of-focus pieces of the original picture. The big ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Yahoo, Google, et al) determine the IP addresses that spammers use and block them (blacklist) so they receive no emails from them. The spammers then find unused IPs from what were reliable sources or they hack into innocent people’s email accounts and use them to beat the blacklist. So the catch-22 effect continues.

The good news is the anti-spam guys are just as clever if not more so in their quest to stop spam. They continue to find ways to block spam from making its way into your Inbox. The challenge is that you don’t want legitimate messages to be classified as spam so the spam filters have to be a bit loose. After all it is legitimate for a Urologist to send an email to his supplier, patient or partner regarding Viagra. This is why some spam makes its way to your Inbox.

Most email software gives you the ability to identify a message as spam or to identify a message that was classified as spam as not spam. You can help the spam filter do a better job in the future, if instead of deleting a spam message in your Inbox, use your email client feature to mark it as Spam. This should influence future decisions made by the spam filter.

It also behooves every user to regularly do a quick scan of their Junk Folder to insure that there are no legitimate messages in there. If there are, use your email program to mark it as a Safe Sender (or Not Spam, each email program is a bit different). When you are done with your scan, empty the folder and let it start filling up again.

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


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