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Viagra Spam Actually Making Money Off Gullible Browsers

Everyone hates spam. We've all sat in front of our inboxes, scratching our heads in bewilderment, trying to imagine who would ever click on these "get-rich-quick" or "lose-weight-fast" links that scream for our attention and grab our elbows at every turn. One type of spam advertiser in particular, though, apparently gets a sufficient "rise" out of consumers to financially justify its existence.

According to researchers from Sophos, spam for pharmaceutical products -- including those ubiquitous, slightly uncomfortable Viagra and Cialis ads -- can actually turn a pretty profit for online pharmacies, drug companies, and their spam distributors. The report focuses on Russian spam networks known as "partnerka," which also act as the engines powering Canada's largest pharmaceutical spam businesses.

One of the largest online pharmaceutical companies, GlavMed, though nominally anti-spam, in fact has a sister company called SpamIt, which consists of several private spam affiliates. A careful examination of GlavMed's sales data shows that 20 purchases are daily made at various online drugstores via GlavMed spam. That works out to a total of $4,000 per day (or $1,600 in commissions for GlavMed). This sum can easily multiply with additional daily spam blasts.

Perhaps most disheartening for the average inbox-checker, the pharma-spam business is so profitable simply because a small percentage of people are gullible enough to click. According to this year's report by the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), 52-percent of online users reported clicking on spam, while only 12-percent of Internet browsers did so out of real interest in the product.

Think about that. One of the dudes in that group of ten over there is responsible for the junk influx the rest of us encounter on a daily basis. And, yeah, we can understand the whole free-market argument behind spam's existence. But you have to wonder whether or not its excessive, invasive means is really justified. Regardless, it seems that as long as 12-percent of us are genuinely interested, the other 88-percent will have to put up with the junky byproduct, a truly sad state of affairs that likely won't change anytime soon. [From: Ars Technica]

Tags: email, maawg, safety, security, spam, study, top, viagra

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