Spammer X is an ex-spammer who has written book called "Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side." He's a former spammer who retired in 2004 who has shared many of his tricks of the trade.
He presented at the Spam Symposium in Europe in 2007. I wasn't there but I did watch the webcast. He mentions that he retired because of the social overhead of being a spammer. "You can't go up to a pretty girl in a bar and introduce yourself, and then reveal that you sell porn, pharmaceutical and mortgage spam. It kills your social life pretty quickly," says Spammer X.
Anyhow, said spammer revealed just how much money he was making during his five years in the business. Here it is below:
|Spam Sent||40 million|
|Click through ratio||0.12%|
|Total sales revenue||$37,440.00|
|Spammer Commission rate||50% (Gah!)|
|Total spammer income||$18,720.00|
|4 days of botnet access||$6800|
Let's round it down to $7000 per week, and assume that our spammer takes four weeks of vacation per year. His net profit for the year? $336,000.
That's a pretty good chunk of change, and it's probably more than I'll ever make fighting spam... but the flip side is that I don't have the social overhead of having people punch me in the face when I tell them what I do. In fact, I must say that in the eyes of many people, I may just be a super hero.
I don't have the power to manipulate space and time like Hiro Nakamura, but stopping a couple billion spam messages per day is nothing to sneeze at.