December 06, 2006

Spam, Spam, Spam ... The Ultimate "Long-Tail" Web 2.0 Market

I'm going to join the pack-blogging about the New York Times article Spam Doubles, Finding New Ways to Deliver Itself (mostly as a test to see if this gets into the news-collector Megite).

As Nick Carr put it:

"Given enough eyeballs, no scam is too shallow."

If niche markets for micro-content are supposedly The Revolution, why not niche markets for micro-scams? Indeed, abstractly, it would seem to be an even better fit. Product and monetary "exit" are combined into one!

Moreover, one can't even have simple faith in a technological solution to a solution problem, because the inbuilt technological arms race can attract programmers on the side of evil - the "botnets" used in spam-attacks are arguably impressive feats of subversion and distributed coordination.

No easy answers. Maybe we can only hope that some spam-fads, like some disease epidemics, eventually burn-out:

There is another aspect the scammers forgot to realise: there may be millions of people willing to order Viagra from shady websites, but investors willing to make a habit of buying spammed stocks and losing money are certainly in short supply.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in spam | on December 06, 2006 10:54 AM (Infothought permalink)
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"Given enough eyeballs, no scam is too shallow."

This is decidedly baiting, but another way one might put that is "the market for something to believe in is infinite."

In fairness, the top quote is what lies at the end of the "dark" path, whereas the second represents the fork itself. Though anecdotally it appears that the "dark" path is well traveled.

Posted by: Ethan at December 6, 2006 12:24 PM

Spam and scams are nature's way of demonstrating the areas needing improvement in our communication and authentication systems.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at December 6, 2006 02:40 PM

"Spam and scams are nature's way " of parting fools from their money. Financial evolution in action.

The reason Snakle Oil salesman lived out of a suitcase in the 19th Century is because they knew they were never going to stay in one place long.

"but investors willing to make a habit of buying spammed stocks and losing money are certainly in short supply. "
Are you really sure? They may change from spam to another technique - cold calling via VoIP is the latest rage - but share market scammers will be with us as long as there is a share market. Look-up David Tweed.

Posted by: tqft at December 6, 2006 08:04 PM

How many people lost tons of money on

Difference of kind or difference of measure?

Posted by: Andy Havens at December 7, 2006 08:55 PM