Does Spam Work?

One of the most annoying plagues to hit the Internet in the past few years (aside from angst-ridden teenagers on MySpace, YouTube, etc…) is unsolicited commercial email advertising (i.e. SPAM). One argument I hear made time and time again is that the reason SPAM persists is that it works. People actually buy things as a result of Spam ridden emails, and this small (but significant) percentage of the population are responsible for SPAM’s prevelance.

First of all, I don’t blame my fellow man for SPAM in my inbox. I blame greedy sons-and-daughters-of-a-***** that actually run the spamming enterprises. From small time operators to those who command massive amounts of zombie servers that spend all their lives pumping out email (And whatever else their legitimate owners think they are doing). But does SPAM work?

Obviously we can’t look at the sale of Viagra (or Viz AGR@) to determine this. But perhaps their is an indicator.

Recently, a round of SPAM has been spotted as a result of a botnet of zombie computers. This SPAM advertises stocks as “hot” and tries to get people to purchase them. The following stocks are “favorites” of the emails:

* China YouTV Corporation (CYTV)



So I figured I’d run stock quotes on those symbols and see how they’ve been doing over the last 90 days.

PPTL is rather new on the market – here’s it’s graph over the past 5 days that the SPAM has been making the rounds (courtsey of Yahoo!)

The last trade was for $0.01

CDYV is doing a bit lower lately as well.

It hovers around $0.05 – $0.10

And CYTV, the one I hear about ALL THE TIME is doing…

Markedly better since the spam emails hit. It went from around $0.20 to $1.

Now, why is this. Well, a number of things I can think of:

  1. People actually believe the email, feel the stock is HOT and buy it.
  2. People don’t believe the email but figure that enough other people will, so they buy it.
  3. People notice that #1’s and #2’s of the world are buying, so they buy.

So in the end, I reach the conclusion that… yes… spam does work. Ugh! I guess if you’re a day trader, keep an eye on these three stocks. I will be interested, however, to see how they do after spam filters adapt to them.

Weekly Happenings

Well, this week has been an interesting one. A LONG one as well!

First of all, I’m typing this on my new IBM (Lenovo) Thinkpad x60 Tablet, which I absolutely LOVE (I’ve actually retired all of my other Laptops and use this one exclusively now). The 12.1″ screen is actually extremely usable, as opposed to my previous Tablet which just didn’t cut it while working at home. The usual IBM perks (i.e. fullsize keyboard, Thinkvantage Junk that’s actually helpful) have been nice as well. Blogging from Word is also nice!

This last weekend we Upgraded Dark Energy with some snazzy new hardware (which is making it run absolutely stunningly). I commissioned a new Win2k3 Virtual server to be a backup domain controller and Intranet host. BJS Employees will soon have a Sharepoint intranet to use for collaboration, and the Admin Team will have an Admin Wiki & Sharepoint site to themselves as well. This has been my diversion this week.

This last Tuesday was my M.A. Thesis defense meeting. I passed, with minimal revisions to make (Which I hope to do in the next 2 – 3 weeks). This should put me on track to graduate sometime this summer, or fall, or at least some time this year. It also frees me up to focus on my Dissertation.

Karey’s been a madwoman this week working on stuff for the approaching holiday. I was at school pretty much all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (the latter day to grade Cognitive Exams). Today I’m relaxing and catching up on some projects around the house (And typing this blog post).

Happy Easter Everyone!

Amazing Virtual Machines

I just set up a new Virtual Machine and am still amazed by this technology. I don’t know why, but I love the idea of hosting multiple OS’s off of one physical set of hardware. The inner geek in me really thrives on this kinda stuff!

Oh yea, less than 24 hrs to Thesis Defense…

Welcome to The New Blog

Well, LiveJournal is seemingly on it’s way to becomming a MySpace-esque youth hangout, and I feel less and less like Youth all the time. So with my third year of blogging underway, I’m switching things up a bit and going to WordPress hosted off of JonWestfall.Com (Right now, as I type this, it’s off of “” – but that will chage soon.

The Old LiveJournal stuff is still available for perusing (I have no intention of closing down my LJ account, I just don’t plan on updating it), and the archives of it are available here as one really-long html file. I have the backups in XML format, so I may one day reformat them to look a bit nicer than that giant HTML file suggests. Just not today!

So back to the new Blog – Confessions of A high Self Monitor. Self-monitoring is a concept from the area of Social Psychology. I’ll probably expand on what it means in the future, but suffice it to say, I feel the title fits me well. Whenever I take a Self Monitoring scale, I tend to score as extremely high. This ability is something I feel is a strength, not weakness, although some may disagree. In the coming weeks, months, years, I’m sure some of the posts here will echo some real-life confessions of a self-monitor, and some will not. Deal with it, it’s my blog! I’ll also be porting over some resources to in the coming months, as well as maintaining them at (my more traditional site).

Happy Reading!


I’ve written many, many, many About Jon sections in the past few years, and just can’t stand putting another one up right now. Check out and learn about me, my contributors, and the world through its content!