A New York Times article announcing the findings of a CipherTrust analysis reveals that not everyone ignores those disturbing spam ads. Results of the analysis showed that spam messages that promote pornography are 280 times as effective in getting recipients to click on them as messages that advertise pharmacy drugs, which were the runner-up in spam effectiveness. Porn spam boasted a 5.6% click-through rate compared to 0.02% for pharmaceutical products. Spam that advertises Rolex watches was the third most popular, revealing a very diverse spam-effective market.
Paul Q. Judge, chief technology officer of CipherTrust, viewed the success of pornographic spam simply as another piece of proof that sex sells. Francis deSouza, a VP at Symantec, an antivirus software company, feels instead that successful spam is based on impulse buying. “Things like home mortgages have a lower success rate than things you’d buy on impulse,” he said. “Things like Viagra, porn.”
Even though pornography is the most effective spam message, other products continue to be sold because many spammers work on contract for other people’s business. DeSouza explained, “If you’re contracted by a company that sells watches or drugs, you might be perfectly happy spamming about watches or drugs.”