Spam Fast, Die Hard

Everyone has heard the expression ‘crime doesn’t pay,’ but spam used to seem so different; from the comforts of their home, spammers send millions of unsolicited E-mails hoping to get a bite from a small percentage of them and cash in on the results based on the numbers. Using a common affiliate program, they get paid $X for every transaction, so if they can convert N% of Y spam E-mails, all they need to do is send out enough spam E-mail to live the good life. The countries that spammers typically reside in make it a more attractive job.

In Russia, there has been a second case of spammer assassination – not to be confused with Spam Assassin. The first case was in 2005, when Russian spammer Vardan Kushnir was taken out of the spam scene. This article points to the death of Alexey Tolstokozhev, estimated to be responsible for 30% of all Viagra and penis enlargement spam E-mails, as the second case.

Note: Estimated conversion rates for spam are around 0.0036 (stated here and here), and Alexey Tolstokozhev was likely making more than $2 million a year.