Cornish Engineering

Cornish Engineering (2007)

Attaboy

February 2, 2007 at 12 PM

After All, Who Couldn’t Use Some Via_qra?

Here’s a spam that I received today:

Hi,

Via_qra $1, 80
Ciqlis $3, 00
Levvtra $3, 35

http://www.progenyid.%com ( Important Remove “%” )

The day before that, a similar one said “Vi_gra”, “Ci_lis” and “Lev_tra”. Okay, we all know what they’re selling, but only because we’ve seen it so many times. The spammers have really been driven to desperate lengths, haven’t they? Not only do you have to decode the spelling and make sense of the oddly formatted numbers, but then, if you actually decide you want the stuff, you have to copy the URL, remove the % sign and paste it into your browser.

Who could actually be bothered? Surely if you’re wanting some of the goods, you’d just seek them out yourself by searching for them, or, I don’t know, going to the doctor. Who sits there reading their email thinking, “Why yes! In fact, I could use some sex-drive enhancing drugs from a disreputable source that misspells its products because millions of people don’t want such unsolicited offers?”

There must be a market for this stuff or else they wouldn’t do it. (Right?) But what’s the hit-to-miss ratio on spam like this? One in ten thousand? One in a million? I guess spam is still so cheap to send that it probably doesn’t matter as long as there is still that one person who so badly needs their, um, Levvtra.

Subsequently: Call The Police

Comments

I get that one 10 times a day!

Scott, February 3, 2007

You've hit the nail on the head, Luke ... it doesn't matter what the hit-to-miss ratio is because the marginal cost of sending another email is about as close to zero as you can get. The solution? Even a modest per-email fee (say, 1 US cent per message for example) would have a dramatic impact on the ability of spammers to ply their craft. Implementing such a system would require an almost complete re-think on the underlying architecture of email, however. This leads me to believe that it will be very difficult for the solution to be implemented. Maybe not as difficult as training computers to filter Via_gra and not Vinegar, though...

Chris, February 8, 2007

Would it have a dramatic impact? Or would it just push up the black market price of cli@lis?

— Anonymous, February 27, 2007

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