[rc5] Unsolicited email

Skip Huffman SHuffman at Atl.Carreker.Com
Thu Oct 9 09:43:01 EDT 1997


On Wed, 08 Oct 1997 22:18:42 -0400, Walter Taninatz wrote:

>Our only hope is to convince people not to buy anything advertised by a
>spammer. Also, to let the people hiring spammers know that we will not buy
>their products/services.
>Maybe by removing the economic incentive, they will just go away.

Unfortunatly it is incredibly cheap to send unsolicited email.  Much cheaper than conventional junk mail.  Even if you piss off thousands of people, you can still make money off the few newbies and fools who will buy.

Here is something that I wrote some months ago while trying to get inside the mind of a spammer.

-----------The Mind of a Spammer-----------------
Why do Spammers Spam?

They do it because it is cheap.  If you send a 100,000 mass mailing pieces the costs add up.   I used to do marketing, and sales and all kinds of things for a small software company.  We did targeted mailings, here is a remembered cost.

Minimum price mailing: Single postcard.

Cost to print, large quantities, per each: $.007
Ugly list that you bought, per address: $.012
Addressing postcards, per each:$.015
Postage, per each, sorted and delivered:$.11
Total cost per each:$.144
Total Cost for 100,000: $14,400

Now your expected return:

Bad Addresses: 30%
No Response:  63%
Contact: 3.5% (5% of valid addresses)

Cost per Contact: $4.11
Now you have to turn that contact into a sale.

You can modify these numbers somewhat.  For example we paid $.15 per address to get a clean, focused list.  Producing a better direct mail piece will increase your rate of responses, our piece cost around $.50 and cost $.22 to mail. We got around 15% response and were able to sell to most of the responders.  Our product cost $99 and we barely made money.

Now if you look at Spam.  

Cost to produce: minimal
Ugly list that you snagged off usenet, per address: $.00003 
   (One second of connect time at $19.95/mo plus one second of amortization on the $3000 computer)

Addressing email, per each:minimal
Distribution Cost:$.00003 
   (One second of connect time at $19.95/mo plus one second of amortization on the $3000 computer)

Total cost per each:$.00006
Total Cost for 100,000: $5.34

Now your expected return: (This is pure speculation)

Bad Addresses: 60% (for all the people with some form of spam protection)
No Response:  39.99% (wild assed guess)
Contact: .01% (.01% of total addresses)

Cost per Contact: $.53 (positive contacts, not rants)
Now you have to turn that contact into a sale.



If you only have to make $.53 per contact rather than $4.11 and don't mind pissing people off, than Spam may be your advertising venue of choice.

Please understand that I am not advocating spam, or for that matter junk mail, I am just trying to get into the head of those who do it.

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