The most common purpose for spamming is advertising. Goods commonly advertised in spam include pornography, unlicensed computer software, medical products such as Viagra, credit card accounts, and fad products. In part because of the bad reputation (and dubious legal status) which spamming carries, it is chiefly used to carry offers of an ill-reputed or legally questionable nature. Many of the products advertised in spam are fraudulent in nature, such as quack medications and get-rich-quick schemes. Spam is frequently used to advertise scams, such as diploma mills, advance fee fraud, pyramid schemes, stock pump-and-dump schemes, and phishing. It is also often used to advertise pornography without regard to the age of the recipient, or the legality of such material in the recipient’s location.
One of the most common ad spams is the computer software program GAIN. Also known as Gator or Claria or Dashbar, this insidious program hides itself within the active programs running on your computer and will collect information on internet habits. Based on the websites you visit, it will then send you “relevant” advertising at random intervals. Unfortunately, this program is often attached and automatically installed with popular “free” software, such as many P2P filesharing clients. Even removing GAIN from your computer can sometimes prove difficult, as it leaves traces of itself even after uninstallation or removal by third party spyware programs.
Spam has different levels of acceptability in different countries. For example, in Russia spamming is commonly used by many mainstream legitimate businesses, such as travel agencies, printing shops, training centers, real estate agencies, seminar and conference organizers, and even self-employed electricians and garbage collection companies. In fact, the most prominent Russian spammer was American English Center, a language school in Moscow. That spamming sparked a powerful antispam movement by enraging the Deputy Minister of Communications Andrey Korotkov and provoking a wave of counterattacks on the spammer through non-Internet channels, including a massive telephone DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack.
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