Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Profitability of spam finally measured

ZDNet posted an article about a key paper presented at this year's ACM Conference on Computer and Communication Security. A team of researchers, including UC Berkeley Professor Vern Paxson, used somewhat aggressive tactics to collect data that measures the conversion rate, or the rate at which an advertising impression results in a products sale, for spam. They essentially hijacked a portion of the notorious Storm botnet to inject spam that contained links to domains and storefronts they controlled.

The team's data has shown that generating 28 sales at an average of $100 each of various "male-enhancement" products required 350 million separate spam messages. This provides a yearly revenue rate of the Storm botnet for the sale of pharmaceuticals at around $3.5 million dollars.

See complete article at ZDNet.