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."
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.