by Jay Johansen | Nov 29, 2013
Why do advertisers and scammers send spam? Yes, I know, because they want our money. But I mean, why do they use spam emails, rather than some other method, like phone calls, or sky-writing, or going door to door, or standing on a street corner shouting at passers-by? It must be: Because it works. If no one bought their products or fell for their scams, they wouldn't keep doing it. There must be a fair number of people out there who actually buy the products advertised in spam emails. There must be people who really believe that someone in Nigeria really picked their name out of a hat and decided to give them millions of dollars.
Yes, email is cheap, pretty close to free. It still takes time and effort to collect email addresses. It takes time and effort to write the emails and send them out. The spammers wouldn't bother if it didn't work. Apparently a large enough percentage of people respond to make the cost of spam worth it.
So if we want to reduce spam, we have to increase the cost. Here's one way: A lot of spam is not from criminals, but from legitimate companies who use a variety of advertising methods, spam being just one of them. So: If I get a spam email advertising a product, I don't buy it. Period. I don't care how desirable the product looks. I don't buy it. I recently saw some TV commercials for a product that sounded appealing. I intended to buy it. Then I got a slew of spam emails for it. I decided not to buy it.
I guess you could say that I am boycotting any company that uses spam as a method of advertising. If enough people did this, companies would quickly decide that sending spam makes them lose more sales than it makes. If companies see that once they start a spam advertising campaign, sales go DOWN, they will stop.
© 2013 by Jay Johansen
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