Saturday, August 18, 2012


People pitching goods via illegal spam probably earn only about $200 million annually, while some $20 billion is spent fending off unwanted email. That 100-to-1 cost-benefit ratio far exceeds that for many other commercial crimes, say the authors of a new study. (click below to read more)

Based on analyses of Yahoo Mail data and other sources, they estimate that 1.8% to 3% of the 50 billion pieces of spam sent out each day get through anti-spam defenses. They also assume that each piece takes five seconds to delete and that computer users' time is worth $25 an hour. To the value of wasted time the authors added $6 billion spent annually on anti-spam software.

The estimate about profit is based on, among other things, the known costs of renting the services of spammers and revenue data from computer scientists who have infiltrated spammers' operations.

"The Economics of Spam," Justin M. Rao and David H. Reiley, Journal of Economic Perspectives (Summer 2012)

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