Chapter 6: Getting Paid as a Spammer

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Do You Really Expect to be Paid?

Although creating, sending, and profiting from spam is hard enough, do you even get paid when it all works? After all, the majority of the promoters you are working for come from very dubious lines of work; crooked pharmacies, sleazy porn sites, and online casinos, to name a few. Would you seriously expect these people to pay large amounts of money to a spammer? Interestingly enough, they all do most of the time.

Although many people think of spam as a nuisance, Internet product vendors see only dollars when they think about spam. Successful spam can mean the difference between a company making $1,000.00 a week and $10,000.00 a day, which tends to put spammers in a more favorable light with vendors.

For example: if I was a spammer who sold 100 boxes of Viagra on behalf of “Drug Company-X” by means of sending spam, Drug Company-X would stand to make up to $5,000.00 to $6,000.00 dollars in profit; my share of this profit would be up to $1,000.00 to $2,000.00. If you take into account the financial incentive behind spam, you see why most companies pay. I directly made Drug Company-X money, with no additional advertising costs or man-hours spent on their part. They have to pay a percentage of the profit to me, but the majority of products being sold already include my commission. Ironically, the recipient of the spam who buys the product ends up paying a higher price to cover the commission that I receive by sending them that spam.

Since the spam I send does not directly cost Drug Company-X, there are usually no problems when it’s time to be paid. The majority of companies like to encourage relationships with individuals who make them rich, especially when they don’t have to do anything. The exception to this rule is when greed comes into play. If Drug Company-X suspects that I am sending spam to promote their product, but they wish to retain all of the profit for themselves, they can often find a way to avoid paying me my percentage. Drug Company-X is fully within their legal right to withhold any funds owed to me, cancel my account, and simply say that by sending spam I have broken the terms of the contract

I agreed to when creating my account. By doing so I have forfeited any money owed to me.

Life can be very tough for a spammer, working in a socially unacceptable industry and having very few legal legs to stand on. Although most companies happily pay spammers for their work, some companies do not, and sadly, there is little that can be done about it.

Notes from the Underground…

Not Getting Paid

Dear Spammer X:

“We have received a complaint against your referral account, suggesting that you have been promoting our site by means of sending spam or unsolicited e-mail in some form.

This is against our terms and conditions, and we have taken measures to remove your account and suspend any funds owed to you.

You accepted the terms and conditions. Please read them carefully next time, as they state that promoting our site by sending spam is prohibited.

—Company Y”

A highly successful spam campaign had made me over $4,000.00 selling original equipment manufacturer (OEM) software. Judging by the size of the Web site, I assumed that the company only had one or two employees, probably selling the software from copied CD-ROM’s shipped in from Asia. I don’t think the company expected to have so much success; they made at least $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 from my efforts. That’s a good paycheck for a day’s work, especially when they didn’t have to do anything. It is also what probably made them take notice of my referral accounts activity. They knew I was sending spam (you don’t get that much traffic instantly without some mass promotion); however, when I had created the account I agreed to their anti-spam terms and conditions so there was nothing I could do. My account was closed and all of my funds were removed.

Spamming is all about promoting the right products. There are a lot of people in this industry that are out to make a quick buck and who will rip off customers, promoters, and anyone else involved. Spammers have to be careful whom they work for; I worked for the wrong people and it cost me. Perhaps I will e-mail the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and inform them of this company’s illicit CD copying trade venture. Or maybe, I will just take down their site by myself.

What happens when the spam run is complete and you are ready to be paid? Payday is usually on a set date of the month and is generally only paid when the account balance reaches a significant figure (commonly around $100.00). This means you do not actually make any money until you make $101.00. This is done to reduce the amount of transactions companies need to process.

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Tricks of the Trade…Minimum Requirement

Although you usually need to make a minimum of $100.00 before you are eligible for payment, many referral programs will remove your account if it is not active for two or three weeks. This means that if your account has only $99.00 at the end of a very poor spam run, unless you get another signup within a few weeks, your money will vanish. At the end of the day, it is the promoting company that makes the money. The end user, the spammer, and the people involved always come off second best.

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When Payday does come around you have a few options for payment. The majority of methods are electronic-based services such as PayPal, Neteller, and ePassporte, but hard copy checks and wire transfers can be sent if preferred. The payment method that a spammer uses is very important, because spam is not legal and you must be careful about what information you disclose. Giving out your home address as the postal address for any checks might ensure that you receive a knock on the door from the police, or even worse, spam activists.

With anonymity in mind, online payment options are the preferred method. Not only do they reduce the amount of information you need to disclose, but the processing time is unparalleled when compared with conventional physical payment methods. If “super-casino-dollars.com” pays the sum of $200.00 to a debit card tomorrow morning, a spammer will be able to go to any ATM tomorrow night and withdraw that money. Having to wait two or three weeks for a check to arrive, then another week for it to clear is not a viable method.

Many spammers follow a general principle: get in and get out as fast as possible. Within a one week a spammer can obtain a mailing list, found a campaign to promote, written the e-mail, and sent all the spam. A spammer will usually try to tie the week up a few days before the official payday by the promoter, so that within eight or nine days of getting the mailing list they have the cash in my hand. This reduces the amount of time my account is open. The shorter it’s open and the faster they’re paid, the lower the chance that someone will find them and close their account for sending spam. Spammers will try to use each promoter’s account only once for each large spam run, moving on to a new company or creating a new username after each campaign. There is no exception to this rule; each spam run is for one company and a spammer should never go back to the same company twice.



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Inside the SPAM Cartel(c) Trade Secrets From the Dark Side
Inside the SPAM Cartel: By Spammer-X
ISBN: 1932266860
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 79

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