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The benefits of spam

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday July 6, 2006 )

Believe it or not, there can be some benefits to be had from receiving spam; especially if you’re involved in affiliate marketing. Here’s why.

Before we implemented spam filtering on our servers and the vast majority of it dried up; I used to glance over a fair amount of blatant spam that came in, aside from messages relating to the 3P’s (Pills, Porn and Poker).

Professional spammers who are paid on sales rather than volume delivered do not waste their time peddling stuff that doesn’t convert given the risks involved. They want to make cash, and lots of it. Sure, it’s mostly a numbers game to them, but if you’re marketing a product that interests people, those numbers convert a lot better.

From time to time I was noticing a run on a particular type of spam coming from different sources relating to the same type product, but leading to different sites owned by different companies. These emails were marketing products I knew little of and cared even less about; they simply weren’t on my radar.

As an experiment, I decided to find a legitimate company selling one of the products and joined their affiliate program. I published up a page on one of my sites and just let it sit; not really expecting it to generate much interest. I was blown away when the sales started ticking over within a few days and 12 months later, it continued to pull in a decent revenue stream each month; long after the spammers lost interest – and without me needing to stoop to their practices.

After the initial success, I thought that I had probably just gotten lucky; so when the next “hot product” spam started doing the rounds, I tried again. Similar results.

The spammers knew what they were doing; they had done their market research; picking up on products before others involved in affiliate marketing had cottoned on to the fact that they would be good sellers.

There’s an old saying that states “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good” – while spam is definitely a major pain in the butt, there’s a pony sometimes to be found in amongst the crap; see if you can find one :)


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