The Truth About 'Spam' (not the meat.)
I don't know who originally dubbed junk email as 'spam', and I guess
I accept the Monty Python skit origin of it (with much artistic license).
It does also resemble the most overworked (and unconfirmed-
Hormel, my dad loved you guys.) joke about the actual, er, meat
product - you don't know what's in it.
So, much to the chili folk's chagrin, a joke has taken over one of their
flagship product's name. I feel bad for them. Really. The Spam jokes
we had were enough to launch the skit in the first place, as well as
decades of humor since WWII. All without hurting sales or Spam's
familiarity as a household name.
Now 'spam' is a different thing.
Not just a joke anymore - a categorical title. An entire industry!!
'Spam' is here to stay. We're told constantly.
Well, because a couple of years ago the 'industry' reported $40 billion
in revenues. It's a financial hit, they said, so it's a legitimate business.
40 billion dollars?!?!?!? Where?!?!?!?!?!
If the frequency of subject matter is any indication, then there should
be a spike in the product industries related to their share of that $40B.
Well, where's the spike in Pharmaceuticals from all that generic Viagra
and Vicodin? (The emails don't tell you that you still need a prescription
even though it's Canada.)
Where's the spike in the mortgage industry from all those great bank offers?
It's already out the roof through traditional means. What's left?
And, if they really are selling that many fake Rolodex watches, where's the
corresponding rise in Cadillacs with flame paint jobs?
Likely, there are none so big as to tip their hat exclusively to 'spam'.
I mean, c'mon! You get an email that's not addressed to you and has a
subject like 'it's not a joke' from Ralph Norton at 'firstname.lastname@example.org',
and you're going to trust it and fill out their mortgage forms with your
social security and bank account numbers? Some will always fall for it,
but the vast majority of the websurfing crowd has been educated against
it by now.
So, where is this $40 billion?
What, besides pornography, has made any real money from spamming?
The spam itself.
Through various marketing ploys, work at home kits and 'phishers'
(we'll get into that another time') the exchange of the spam kits and
email lists are topping $40 billion globally.
Are there 400 million people in the world who would pay $100 for the
opportunity to get rich from their computer desk without questioning it?
You bet your ass.
There could be that many in Los Angeles, New York or Hong Kong alone.
This is really how low we have sunk as a society. We finally have our first
real 'Star Trek' commodity- a global information and communication base-
and one of the first accessing businesses to report a huge profit from it is the
It's become a tool for every kind of con-artist and charlatain. Spammers make
the internet as dangerous as the worst back alley in the middle of the night.
They destroy the credibility of legitimate businesses by giving email-marketing
a bad reputation as well as by faking websites to gather credit card and bank
information from potential fraud victims.
The most lied to is the poor schmuck who bought the 'click to make money'
kit. This is money that would have been better spent being lent for cigarettes
to friends at the bar.
Just for the record- no, you can't be a pharmaceutical broker on the web.
Only a licensed physician can legally prescribe those drugs and a licensed
pharmacist requires that prescription to sell them, regardless of the location.
Besides, if the return emails are fake so you won't get angry replies, how
can you even get credit for a cut? The few supplying actual drugs are not
doing it legally. They are drug dealers. Bad-no. Shame!
Likewise with a mortgage. Real banks and morgage companies buy only
verified lists and send directly from their own marketing email address.
You cannot be paid for sending their email. You were likely the target
the whole time.
The con man has never had to rely on technology to fool a mark. He uses
it to expand his field. He only has to rely on one thing;
That you want something for nothing, too.
The big clue is exactly that- the old saying 'it it seems too good to be true....'
well, you know. Doubly so with on-line 'business opportunities'.
We've got to protect these new innovations as we get used to them. The main
thing we can do is to warn each other the way we would with pyramind
scams and Nigerian bank accounts.
It's all the same people. anyway- spammers.
Or, as we know them best - crooks.
previous essay Table of Contents Next Essay