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)

* CDYV

* PPTL

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.

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