Does SPAM still work?

I’ve been online now for over a quarter century.  I was there when the vote was taken to allow commercial traffic onto the internet.  I even remember some of the early and primitive websites that first popped up and nowadays would hardly qualify as a website.

All through this time I had email accounts and for a good portion of that time I’ve had to deal with SPAM.  That unwanted and now largely ignored mass communication method made possible by the ability of the internet to send “free” and “unlimited” numbers of electronic mail messages to recipients all around the world.

This form of advertising is now on the decline but still serious and pervasive enough to bother a great number of people all around the world.  Most countries now have anti-spamming legislation which makes this type of communication increasingly the purview of criminals seeking to infect the computers of unwary people with malware or peddling illegal items.

I should say however that some countries do still allow spam and that some forms of emails that are annoying may be thought of as spam even though they are not technically spam.  It is this category that I want to discuss.

Why do business people, rational people I’m sure, think that this shotgun approach to advertising will work?  Sending out untargeted, unwanted, and somewhat random emails out into a general population that most certainly did not ask for this sort of attention is prone to incur the wrath of the recipient.  So why do it?

I think it is fairly clear that the general population has gained a level of technical sophistication in the last decade.  Certainly the terms: virus, spam, and scam, are not unknown to most people.  I have to imagine that most people will react negatively to the arrival of such emails to their inbox.  So with that thought in mind, is it really a worthwhile exercise to engage in this practice anymore?

I mean at best most people will do what I do, which is ignore these emails completely.  Those people who are really annoyed may take hostile action such as tracking down those responsible and reporting those responsible to their internet providers.

Further in the last few years online advertising has embraced social media and grown in sophistication that allows advertisers to more selectively target their message to the “right” audience.

So with so much going against it and with much better ways to spend their advertising dollars, why do people still persist in this practice?

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