The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Living in the Spam Capital of the World

Bernard Balan, 51, who operates a bulk mail site from Emsdale, Ontario called, says he's gone through “unbelievable hardships” to keep the spam flowing.

“My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters,” said Balan, a former truck driver and pinball machine mechanic.

Five years ago, Balan says, he'd send 30 million messages in a day. Most would get through. He'd earn up to $10,000 in commissions for a good day's work.

Now, even though Balan keeps a database with 240 million e-mail addresses, only a fifth or fewer get through the filters. An average mailing earns him a paltry $250.

"With vigilantes on their heels, top spammers keep the e-mail flowing

Just one of many articles quoting spammers Paul Graham has collected in his spam reference page. Paul is bullish on spam becoming uneconomical, and given the above article, it's beginning to look that way. In reading the articles, it seems that the top rate of spamming is about 180 emails per second, which works out to about 10 million per day and while they do make decent money at a low six-figures per year, it isn't exactly the road to riches.

And it's getting harder and harder to send spam each year.

What I also find amazing is that of all the spammers profiled, each one has had some … disagreement … with the law in their past. Figures, given how bad an image the spam industry has.

And sadly, Boca Raton is considered the Spam Capital of the World. Way to go, Boca! Woot!

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