This ABC News item about the recent trial in Virgina of big-time spammer Jeremy Jaynes gives you an idea of just how profitable an operation it is as well as how many idiots are out there. Apparently they number into the tens of thousands:
During the trial, prosecutors focused on three products that Jaynes hawked: software that promises to clean computers of private information; a service for choosing penny stocks to invest in; and a “FedEx refund processor” that promised $75-an-hour work but did little more than give buyers access to a Web site of delinquent FedEx accounts.
Jaynes, going by Gaven Stubberfield and other aliases, had established a niche as a pornography purveyor, said Assistant Attorney General Russell McGuire, who prosecuted the case. But Jaynes was constantly tweaking and rotating products.
Relatively few people actually responded to Jaynes’ pitches. In a typical month, prosecutors said during the trial, Jaynes might receive 10,000 to 17,000 credit card orders, thus making money on perhaps only one of every 30,000 e-mails he sent out.
But he earned $40 a pop, and the undertaking was so vast that Jaynes could still pull in $400,000 to $750,000 a month, while spending perhaps $50,000 on bandwidth and other overhead, McGuire said.
“When you’re marketing to the world, there are enough idiots out there” who will be suckered in, McGuire said in an interview.
A one-man operation pulling in over $400,000 a month for little more than filling up inboxes around the world with offers for crap. This is another one of those things that makes you wonder how people can be so stupid as to buy into this crap. I’ve noticed that a lot of the spam I’ve gotten recently are offers for Rolex watches. Who are these people that think they can get a Rolex watch dirt-cheap from an email offer full of typos and intentional punctuation mistakes intended to get the message past email filters? The offers for university degrees are even more ridiculous. The idea that one guy could pull down that kind of money (Jaynes is estimated to have a net worth of around $24 million) is amazing when you consider how many other spammers are out there. Are they all making that kind of money? And who the hell is spending it??