Friday, May 02, 2008

Segmenting and Localizing Spam Campaigns

One-to-many or one-to-one communication channel? That's the questions from a spammer's perspective. Given that spammers have long embraced basic segmentation in their harvested email databases, enforcing localization in each of their multinational campaigns, thereby increasing the probability for a higher response, was a logical trend to come, one that we're currently witnessing on a large scale. Outsourcing the localization process by using translation services on demand, for anything starting from phishing emails and spam, and going to malware campaigns, is starting to accelerate, due to the fact that these parties now know about the email address than they used to in the past.

A Chinese user will never receive a spam message in German, and exactly the opposite, as spammers are getting more ROI conscious in everything they do, and therefore in the long term, the emphasis on the processing of sending the spam, may in fact shift to higher expectations from bother masters with spammers requiring hosts with clean IP reputations in the very same fashion spammers want email databases of emails that still haven't been spammed - well at least by them.

And just like in any other market out there, the managed spamming appliance providers would inevitably vertically integrate to start offering database filtering and verification of delivery services. With so many malware infected hosts, spamming is getting cheaper, given the increasing number of market participants each of them consciously or subconsciously engaging in permanent penetration pricing to end up undercutting those positioning spamming as a exclusive service. And when the process of sending, and providing huge lists of harvested emails is already a commodity, the competitions is shifting to the quality of the campaign.

The attached screenshot represents a spamming provider's "inventory" of emails per country, and price for a number of already harvested emails, clearly demonstrating that when competition increases even in the underground market, the serious sellers start differentiating their propositions, taking spam in general a step beyond.