[linux-elitists] smart advertising understanding.

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Wed Mar 30 15:18:56 PST 2005

On Wed, 2005-03-30 at 15:58, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com):
> > Let's not pretend that spammers, mass marketers, etc. are idiots....
> Spammers are idiots.  If you'd bothered to study that industry, you'd
> already know [...]

I've worked to prevent spam in several companies, spoken in depth (and
without screaming) with a few successful spammers, had a couple of
friends who fell on hard times and wrote bulk-mail software for
spammers, and performed a fair amount of research outside of all of

Spammers are not idiots any more than those who engage in any field of
high-risk endeavor are universally idiots. Many of the most prolific are
idiots, but then being prolific is probably a selector for idiotness.
Those who find ways to make more money with less effort are the ones who

I've heard some amazingly bright strategies from some of these people
for dealing with everything from honeypots to tar-babies to Bayesian
classifiers to netblock filtering. One company (which I think is no
more, because the founder retired) had my favorite way to deal with
blacklists: they would bribe an ISP's night NOC staff to back a van up
to the ISP and literally run a CAT-5 into the NOC and start pumping.
Moving from city to city within a fairly small physical radius, they
kept this up for years. It was such an amazingly obvious social
engineering hack that I had to just stand there in awe when I was told
about it.

I'm still poor because a) I have ethics and b) I'm not usually that
smart :)

> > the successful ones are...
> ...the guys who sell the aforementioned canned tools and lists.

There is that model, but there are many others, and some of the most
successful are no where near that model.

> Please consider Followup-To: to have been, in a figurative sense, set to
> NANAE, preferably circa 1996, i.e. before it was deluged in know-nothings.

Heh, I remember when that was set up. I always considered it a bit of a
waste of time, as I fully expected that permanent September would
transform itself into a deep winter as the signal-to-noise ratio of
Usenet and eventually even private email continued to drop. I did still
use Usenet in '96, but it had already fallen WAY down-hill.


Ah, weren't those the days... young and innocent. All I wanted was GNU
Emacs and Nethack for my 3B1 that I'd scrounged from the Math
department's basement ;-)

Aaron Sherman <ajs@ajs.com>
Senior Systems Engineer and Toolsmith
"It's the sound of a satellite saying, 'get me down!'" -Shriekback

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list