Peak Spam

Tyler Durden's picture

The Borg collective formerly known as the US middle class may have no money left (and its credit cards have long since been maxed out), but at least it has every internet-connected gizmo known to man and Klingon. Not surprisingly, this development has not been lost on the very same retailers who are competing dollar for dollar with the vendors who sell these same faddy gizmos to the same Borg collective. For now retailers are losing. But, like stock traders and the administration they are full of hope. And spam. And will make it known. As SM reports, spam emails from retailers "jumped 20% in the first half of the year over the same period in 2011, according to a survey released this week by Responsys, a California-based marketing software company. In June alone, these stores sent an average of 18 emails per subscriber, up 21% on last year." Expect this number to only go up until virtually every email coming into one's inbox is a groupon ad, a penis enlargement device, a PFG "try us for 30 days for free" offer, or a 90%-off "one time only" for the latest value investing congress. Because the only cost associated with spamming people is printing extra email lists. The Fed Chairman can vouch for the sunk cost associated with hitting CTRL+P. So how long until iPhone spam filter makers are more profitable than Belgian caterers?


Why the jump in email blasts? There’s been a lot of “hand-wringing” over the efficiency of social networking platforms, says Chad White, research director at Responsys. Retailers are growing impatient with Twitter and Facebook and want to see an immediate return on their time and money, he says. In fact, only 20% of Fortune 500?s 100 largest companies engage with their customers on Facebook, according to a new survey by marketing consultants Bluewolf, and those that do tend to use the platform primarily for customer service.


Some retailers say email remains a more effective marketing tool than social media sites. “The world is still trying to figure out how to use social media the best way,” says Jonathan Johnson, president at ( is one of the 500 retailers in the survey.)


Tablets and Smartphones make consumers a moving target for click-happy retailers on national holidays and weekends, experts say. People weren’t accessible on these days in previous years, but that’s rapidly changing: The number of people using their mobile phones to open email has risen 28% over the past year, according to market researcher ComScore Inc. “Memorial Day and 4th of July were a sniffle last year compared to the number of emails sent out this year,” White says.


But email blasts do encourage consumers to click on offers, experts say. “The fastest growing category in retail is online sales,” says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a New York-based retail consultant and investment bank. Recession-scarred consumers are more likely to make impulse purchases online, he says. In fact, recent studies show that online retailing has been thriving – in sharp contrast to the rest of the sector. Online retail spending in the U.S. rose 17% on the year in the first quarter of 2012, the 10th consecutive quarter of growth, according to ComScore.


And given lackluster store sales, aggressive emailing is also a particularly cheap way for retailers to reach existing customers compared, White says. “The recession has made retailers renew their focus on keeping the customers they have rather than attracting new customers,” he says. “For retailers already suffering slower sales, the latter is a far more attractive proposition.” June retail sales grew by 2.5%, the slowest pace in more than two years, according to data released this week from 18 retail chains tracked by Thomson Reuters

Furthermore, as various electronic gadgets become more and more context and location sensitive, look for desperate retailers to start bombarding users with "offers" when one is merely in proximity to various retail fronts.

So while everyone's dream of being intimately hooked up into the borg slowly comes true, the only outstanding item is to feed the now endangered US (and global) middle class with fresh pieces of green linen/paper with pictures of dead presidents on the front. This, however, will hardly be a challenge for the Chairsatan: as the earlier minutes showed, the FOMC is studying "new tools for easing." Among these most certainly will be projectile cash deployment by way of C5 Galaxy.  But fear not: "pundits" tell us record debt issuance can only bring to even more negative nominal rates. Which only means that infinite spending will soon lead to even more deflation.

Bring on peak spam then!

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Pladizow's picture

How long before a "Do-Not" email list is established?

GeezerGeek's picture

Obama should impose a $.30 tax on each and every spam email, proceeds to go to the USPS.

Except for Their solicitations are OK with me.

Marginal Call's picture

I went shopping with my wife on Monday because we were in Oregon for the day and she wanted to save some sales tax.  Every store, J Crew, Nordstroms, Williams Sonoma asked for email addresses from us.  We declined, wasn't long ago they wanted your phone number for their data crunching, now they nearly demand your email when you make a purchase.  


Clerks weren't interested in the word no.

Atomizer's picture

If someone asks for your email or telephone number, just make one up.

Angus McHugepenis's picture

I tell anyone that asks me for address info, email, etc that my info costs money. And if they ask me again for any info I will bill them $500 for my time. Stops them in their tracks every time.

I also do the make-up-a-phone-number/email if I feel playful. I always love blurting out in a line up that my email address is stiffcock@analintruder.cum. And then I encourage other people in the line behind me to use my info.

Element's picture

I don't want spam, simply because, this is my mind, and I don't want it meddled with or disturbed, without permission, by marketing arses, politician arses, and 'religious' desperados.

To me it's grossly improper, aggressive, offensive and very insulting for my mind to be interfered with deliberately and intruded with psychological devices, in clearly unwelcome and harmful ways, or otherwise harassed by idiot commercialists, who simply want to increase 'sales' of some dreary scam 'product'.

I say 'scam', because the sorts of people and companies that will intentionally steal, trick or else buy your information, with which to spam you, are also the same ones who will endlessly be scamming you.  I have no reservations in treating them accordingly.  

One day people will realise spamers are the sorts of people who would see no intrinsic problem with dropping-acid in a maternity ward, because they don't give a damn what harm they do to any impressionable minds, and the resulting society that we get.

Much theft for instance occurs because spamers deliberately incited people to want things that they can't afford. So, being so filled with hyper-stimulated want, they do what they know implicitly and morally is the wrong thing to do, and which will cause them and others great problems and pain.

As I see it the spamer is the co-equal in responsibility for what occurs, if not fully responsible, given they had full knowledge they were deliberately fanning unfulfillable desires, expectations and wants, simply to enrich themselves.

Spaming is a form of mental and social parasitism, a sickness, that is allowed to run-amok in the 'developed' world today.

What's 'developed' about that?  It seems very backward and retarded to me.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Oh I love it when they ask for my phone #! By the way it is 123-555-6969. I've never had any pimply assed sales person question it. And the email? Kid you not they take it every time! I think they have a field they must enter on the register so they're happy for anything. Beats arguing over every transaction.


Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

This is easy! Get a super offensive email address, and say it superloud when they want it. "Yes, my email address is" etc. They drop it REAL fast when you do that. The poor kid just wants the $5 bonus for getting the emails.

Shizzmoney's picture

Clerks weren't interested in the word no.

Well, it isn;t the clerks' fault there.  They are pressured, and even incentivized, to get these emails.

When you are on ipns and needles at a minium wage job as it is, and that's your only chance to get paid, what the fuck else are you supposed to do?

When *I* worked in retail, I would always avoid doing this AMAP because of the fact I know it alienates consumers.  Just because some shithead with a marketing degree anticipates that this type of practice improves sales (the "volume theory"), doesn't account for the fact of how many consumers this type of practice alienates. 

Today's younger consumer, especially male, is very in-and-out.  He knows what he wants, he doesn't want to be solicited, hates being upsold, and he also hates taxes.  That's why he shops mostly online and on Amazon.

Iwanttoknow's picture

Cannot give you an up arrow.

brewing's picture

who the fuck hits the ad buttons on any website...

Unprepared's picture

You forgot to consider that spam is edible and non-perishable.

Piranhanoia's picture

agree only with non-perishable.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

...and I'd have to disagree with that. I once ate a can of Spam which was three years out of date. The results were similar to the US economy right now...

NotApplicable's picture

Only when I'm trying to click on what I thought was a blank spot on the page in order to set the focus to it.

I hear that other people click on ads for places they don't like in order to cost them money.

GeezerGeek's picture

That's like returning a postage-paid envelop to an organization you dislike with nothing but a nasty note.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

or a dog turd. Win-Win whether the postman tries to steal it or not...

Dr. Engali's picture

I hit alot of them on Tyler's site. Especially Obummer's ads, make them pay for the click through.

Clayton Bigsby's picture

Ha!  I thought I was the only one that did that...  Actually, they probably have a whole room of "interns" over at obummer campaign hq doing the same thing to Romney.

AndItsGone's picture

LOL. Me too. Let's just say Baracko's email list has a lot of submissions from the buttnet.butt domain and the 80085 zip code.

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Isn't that the area code for the SEC?

Unbezahlbar's picture

I only click on the ads for Russian college girls (pre-med or similar) working their way thru school and need a date....

Taint Boil's picture



I only click on the ones that blink and shake .... Amazing how many time I have been the millionth vistor, and I can not believe how many hot women in my home town are looking to have sex and chat with me .... FOR FREE!!

SemperFord's picture

So I am not the only lucky one??? Amazing!!!


Itch's picture

I clicked on one of those "women in your area" ads the other night, there were two hot mammas at my door within 15 was my granny and my sister just returned from a session on the sunbeds.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

So THEY are the ones making $84 an hour at their computers!!!  =0

Itch's picture

Yeah they were heavenly, they cleaned the house and made me something to eat.

GeezerGeek's picture

Ads that blink and shake are wasting my CPU/GPU/APU cycles. I want to be paid for their use of my computing power.

DCFusor's picture

Snail mail spam is great!  I have a heat.

brewing's picture

"you may already be a winner" according to publisher's clearinghouse...

101 years and counting's picture

"So how long until iPhone spam filter makers are more profitable than Belgian caterers?"

that can never happen. another 180 EU summits should guarantee that.

azzhatter's picture

I only hit the Cramer ads "there's a bull market somewhere". That guy has some serious advice



Dr. Engali's picture

What's wrong with spam? I had spam eggs sausage and spam for breakfast.


MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Vikings? You should worry about them Harkonens.

Scalaris's picture



To whom it may concern;


I hope you and your penis enlargement bot whores die an excruciatingly atrocious death, and also rot in hell's shittiest corner.



Agent P's picture

I'm still holding out for a single offer that allows me to refinance my mortgage AND enlarge my penis at the same time.

GeezerGeek's picture

I'm holding out for an offer that allows me to refinance my mortgage at a negative interest rate.

takinthehighway's picture

With my luck, I'd wind up with a mortgage enlargement and a per-use assessment on my penis.

Agent P's picture

You just described my marriage.

world_debt_slave's picture

ha, ha, yeah, I'm getting spammed like crazy e.g. Rock bottom prices, everyting msut go, 2 for 1, yada, yada, yada


SubversiveSheep's picture

Instead of deleting them, you can complicate a legitimate retailer's day by using the "report as spam" button, if your email provider offers one. It won't make any difference to the penis-enlargement crowd that uses bunches of different accounts to send from, but if a legitimate business that sends via a third-party emailing system gets a certain number of spam reports per day, a lot of email providers will flat-out block them from their users' inboxes and THAT causes a ton of bouncebacks and major headaches for that retailer's marketing department. Throws their reporting metrics off and can even get the retailer kinda blacklisted by other email providers. If you feel like a legitimate business got ahold of your email address in a nefarious way, go to town on the report as spam function -- can't hurt, and it might disrupt their day in the same way they disrupted yours.

Praetorian Guard's picture

Actually, why not save the spam emails and send them back in massive bulk generators? Plugs up these peoples return boxes...

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Typical Keynsians.  If we hit you with 100 ads and you didn't buy from us, we need to hit you with 200, 400,800,1600,3200, and you will FINALLY BUY SOMETHING FROM US!!!

If we could only spend more we would make more!!  Just like the gubbamint!! Scotty I need more SPENDING POWER!!

ziggy59's picture

Yes they are cling- ons, not Klingons

q99x2's picture

Ok I'll admit it. I clicked on a Snorg-tee ad once. But only on ZH.

toady's picture

The wife was addicted to ads for a long time. She just KNEW she was the one that had 'already won'!

She set up a Hotmail account to use that gets between one & two hundred junk mails a day.

I go in about once a month and delete everything.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

ummmh...if you went in more than once a month, maybe she wouldn't be so obsessed with the ads?