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A Dispatch

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August 22, 2005

Take Two Fake Rolexes and Call Me In the Morning

As I was scrolling through the source code of spam trapped in my server's "Suspects" bin today, I noticed a familiar message flogging fake Rolex watches. It uses an old technique called ASCII Art—something I wrote about back in a January 2005 dispatch.

What really caught my eye, however, was the link URL the recipient is to click to either visit the online store or "0pt 0ut" (those are zeros) of future mail (yah!). The domain name is short, to the point, and clearly intended for a medz spammer (the word "pills" is in the domain name).

As I demonstrate in Spam Wars, a lot of spammers and spamvertisers sell anything for which they can make a buck. Today it's fake Rolexes; yesterday it was fake Viagra or a cream you're supposed to rub somewhere. They're not building a brand name of their own, just a money machine flogging the product (phony or otherwise) du jour.

In the meantime, we're all paying for the "privilege" of having their messages jam our inboxes. People must be buying this crap because the spammers wouldn't continue to spam if they weren't making money doing it. The spammers won't stop on their own. Even with literally billions of messages per day being summarily deleted or shunted into spam bins, enough of them get through to make it worth the spammers' while. But if everyone stopped visiting spammers' Web sites, the spam, too, would stop. Tell your kids, your uncle Fred, Grandma, and the bored co-worker in the next cubicle.

Posted on August 22, 2005 at 11:48 AM