What Email Spam Tells You About Internet Business

Consumers spend over $100 million per year on spam email scams. How can anyone still be duped into this? The answer may be a big business opportunity.

I was reading an article in the most recent edition of Forbes on Spam.  In it, the magazine states that certain Spam companies make up to $100 MM per year hawking fake Viagra, sex stimulants, OEM software, weight loss products, and more.  My question is, who in their right mind is buying these products?  I mean hasn't everyone heard about these email scams?  Doesn't everyone know you don't buy Viagra from an unsolicited email?

Apparently not.  Which got me thinking.  Those of us who spend a lot of time on the Web really take for granted the level and sophistication of the bulk of mainstream Internet users.  I mean if millions of people are buying fake Viagra tablets online, I can guarantee you they aren't using Digg or plugging into Twitter, or figuring out how the latest widget can help them, or even buying on Amazon.  No, the masses are thinking about much more mundane things.  How can I get it up for my wife tonight, how can I lose 50 points easily, how can I get a cheap piece of legal or illegal software for my computer? 

These unsavvy, apparently unsophisticated Internet users represent the silent majority on the Internet.  They are there, they spend money, but they are largely ignored. 

If a spammer can convince them to hand over $50 bucks to buy Viagra then you should be able to convince them to spend some percent of money on a legitimate product.  Do that, and you'll make far more money than MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube combined.

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    July 26, 2007

    The $100 million number strikes me as particularly low given the fact that most email users are naive and unsophisticated.

  • Anonymous

    July 26, 2007

    The burden to society in terms of viruses accidentally downloaded, lost time filtering through these, etc. is dramatically higher.

  • Anonymous

    July 26, 2007

    I think the article means that certain companies make 100 million per year, not that spam in total generates that much.

    I often wonder who click on those ads. If people stopped clicking and buying, spam would go away. It lasts because the spammers get a return for their efforts.

  • Anonymous

    July 27, 2007

    It's the same group that buys scratch tickets and expects to win.

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