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.

Strange TPIR Happenings

Today was the last day of the Spring 2006 Semester, and while that was all good, you don’t want to hear about that – you want to hear about The Price Is Right, right?  I’ve been batteling with a TV tuner in my Compaq to record the show since I’m usually at school at 11 AM and this week it did a beautiful job – recording all 5 days for Karey’s & My viewing.  We did see some rather strange things though, and we haven’t even watched Friday’s show yet.
The first was a girl with a custom T-Shirt that CBS blurred the verb out of.  The shirt, shown below was clearly blurred, and the blurring was pretty evident in close ups the entire time she was in Contestant’s row (The video had clear signs that someone was painting over the text with blur during editing).  The odd thing was that as soon as she got on stage, Bob read her shirt aloud, which said…

“I will Flip for Bob”.  Now I ask you, CBS, What in God’s Name is wrong with the word “Flip”? It’s not like CBS couldn’t have fast forwarded ahead THEIR copy and read what the word was (In case they couldn’t clearly make it out from the far camera angle).  And obviously Flip is not obscene in this sense (Now if it had said “I will flip off bob”, then maybe…).  And lastly, Fremantle Media probably wouldn’t have let her into the studio if it had been a problem, let alone selected her to be on the show.  All in all, it’s quite strange.  Any opinions on why it was “censored”?
Ok, the second strange thing we saw was an old lady, who we don’t think knew where she was.  During the opening sweap of the show, while the announcer is yammering on about the Bob Barker studios, everyone on the set is usually pretty hyped… except this woman… see if you can pick her out below.

Honestly, could this person look more dead and unhappy if they tried?  Other than the two incidents above, one guy was stupid enough to try to bid 3995… as in $39.95.  The exchange between this guy and Bob was pretty interesting:
Bob: Your bid is what?
Idiot: t
hirty-nine ninety-five
Bob: three-thousand nine-hundred ninety-five.
(Note, he was not asking him, he was telling him)
Idiot: No no no, thirty-nine ninety-five… thirty-nine dollars
Bob: Thirty-nine dollars ninety-five cents???
Idiot: yea, ha ha
(laughing continues)
<audience boos>
Bob: Do you know why they’re boo’ing you?
Idiot: no
Bob: We have all of our prices in even dollars and have had for 34 years.  How is it possible that you have wasted your entire life?  Take that thirty-nine ninety-five off there, what do you want to bid? Forty dollars?
Idiot: No… sixty
Bob: Sixty dollars is his bid.
Bob: You know Victor, you’re a crazy mixed-up kid, you really are.  Actual Retail Price… 1180.
Thankfully the idiot never made it to the stage… People always trying to look cute… and they end up looking like morons.
Of course, maybe I take this too seriously ๐Ÿ™‚

Real Accident!

WTOL-TV Toledo, OH: Semi Crash Closes I-75
“SOUTH TOLEDO — An early morning crash has completely shut down Interstate 75 just south of downtown Toledo.  It has blocked the highway on the DiSalle Bridge, between the Collingwood
and Downtown exits.”

Well, I thought the previous article was about the accident that blocked my way to school, but apparently THIS is the accident in question. Bad day for Toledo Traffic!

Stupid People Alert 10220501

Police chief ordered ambush, memo says
“BOCA RATON โ€” Police Chief Andrew Scott, already under fire for releasing a wealthy friend from custody, in August ordered a traffic stop on a city resident so a Miami TV news reporter could interview him, according to a memo written by the sergeant who reluctantly followed the command.”
Sometimes, as Chris Rock disputes, you should really look over your back for the media. This is obviously the Stupid People Alert for today. Polie Chief Andrew Scott – What were you thinking?

Gotta Get To Work!

Marie & Michael & I had dinner last night at Quaker Steak and she said something to me that really hit for some reason. I told her that I’m redesigning Toledo’s Psychology Website (A site I have some great plans for, BTW) and she said “That’s how you do it – everywhere you go”… then alluding to my ability to find work where ever I want. I will admit, its kinda odd the way I can grab work various places.
Today I was participating in one of my favorite exercises: Sitting on the Couch watching TNT. For some reason, I’ve become somewhat addicted to the TV programs they show during the daytime. I was watching the 12 noon showing of “Judging Amy” and knew that I had to get up here and do some work, less I get sucked into Law & Order at 1, then 2 Episodes of NYPD Blue at 2 & 3, and finally another episode of Judging Amy at 4. Oh my life has evolved into watching TV and occassionally doing some internet related work. What a wonder life I suppose.
Well, now its off to designing a viable template for Toledo. I’m not quite sure what I want to use, but have some ideas. I’ll have to chec
k out UT’s website to see if they have a photo gallery of some sort I can grab some images from. UA’s website has some stock “students in classrooms” pictures I could grab as well. I’ll probably BS on AIM for awhile too.
Internet will be installed at the lake a week from today, at 10 AM so maybe this time next week I’ll be surfing at high speed in paradise.
Oh, and about the “Mood” today, well I’m never in a flirty mood, but for the next 3 minutes, perhaps I will be. Warnings to anyone who may IM me… ๐Ÿ˜‰