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Re: Explaining spam to policians (was: test message)

  • To: Jan Meijer < >
  • From: Peter Berenyi < >
  • Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 18:44:07 +0100
  • Cc: Piet Beertema < >

Jan Meijer wrote:

> How could we calculate the amount of loss due to spam?
> Jan

The costs of delivering & downloading a single email should be somewhere around 1
(dollar)cent, even if we ignore the time spent on identifying it as spam and
trashing it. One could easily estimate it much more precisely using such data from
the web like at

(A good estimate of the size of an average email is 50 Kbytes. With this figure and
the prices quoted above one gets 0.5 cent/email as a mail relay cost. But this is
not the end of the story. Don't forget bandwidth and server costs on the customer

Since spammers report a 0.1% success rate as an outstanding result (I saw - in a
SPAM about spamming - a guy boasting he just sent out 50000 messages at no cost and
as a result already sold 3 pieces of the shit he was advertising). A rough estimate
shows that the advertising cost/commercial transaction should be above $10, in most
cases probably closer to $100 - or even above. This cost level would certainly be
unacceptable while selling things for a few dollar/piece provided it would be paid
by the vendor. However, as it is now, this cost is "distributed" among many
innocent players who has nothing to do with the business per se. Without devolving
costs this way spamming would not be nearly as miraculously cost effective as it is

Remember, throwing waste into the river was once considered extremely cost
effective, since the river "washes it down" to the ocean, where it simply

Peter Berenyi - Systems Administrator
PSINet Magyarorszg Kft - PSINet Hungary Ltd.
email: berenyip@localhost
work +36 1 237 9972  mobile +36 20 411 0580

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