Security

Show Me the Money: Characterizing Spam-Advertised Revenue

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Executive Summary

Modern spam is ultimately driven by product sales: goods purchased by customers online. However, while this model is easy to state in the abstract, the authors' understanding of the concrete business environment - how many orders, of what kind, from which customers, for how much - is poor at best. This situation is unsurprising since such sellers typically operate under questionable legal footing, with "Ground truth" data rarely available to the public. However, absent quantifiable empirical data, "Guesstimates" operate unchecked and can distort both policy making and their choice of appropriate interventions.

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