Swollen Orders Show Spam's Allure

from the aha! dept

We’ve discussed this a few times before, but, until now, I’d never seen an article that actually discusses who actually buys the crap advertised in spam. Now, thanks to a security hole at a site offering “penis enlargement pills”, there’s a little more info on just who the gullible folks are who fall for spam. The story would be a bit more believable if it weren’t written by Brian McWilliams, who doesn’t have the strongest reputation as a reporter. He was the guy who wrote an article saying he “hacked” into “Saddam Hussein’s email account”, after he guessed the incredibly easy password for the general email account of the only Iraqi ISP. He also pretended to be an Al Qaeda operative to trick another reporter into believing that the Slammer worm was a terrorist attack. So, I’m always a little skeptical of his stories. However, he claims to have gotten his hands on the order list from a penis pill site, and says that the buyers include “the manager of a $6 billion mutual fund… shipped to his Park Avenue office”, a “president of a California firm that sells airplane parts and is active in the local Rotary Club” and a “coach of an elementary school lacrosse club in Pennsylvania”. He also convinces one person who ordered to explain how he could possibly think it was legit, and received the following answer: “There was a picture on the top of the page that said, ‘As Seen on TV,’ and I guess that made me think it was legit.” There’s also an amusing quote from someone who used to work at the operation selling these pills, saying that the guy who runs it (a 19-year-old high school dropout), “has a weird sense of ethics. He would never use a stolen credit card, and he honors requests for refunds.”

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