Spam Kings is a fascinating look into the heyday of email spam, back in the day when there was easy money to be made. From the standpoint of the “bulkers”, as they considers themselves, they were merely exercising their right to earn a living in a free market society. Their nemesis, the anti-spammers, were a bunch of meddlesome do-gooders set on taking their right to earn a living. Two sides to a very decisive coin. Some of these guys claimed to be legitimate marketers while it is apparent that others would have been career criminals with or without a computer.
I enjoyed reading this book. When I put it down I found myself eager to return to the story. Like any sales related activity, spam is a numbers game. 3 sales from 1000 spam emails sent could be considered a successful campaign. The fight over spam is a fight over network bandwidth. Bandwidth is not free. As a commodity with value, money is at the root of the issue. While the book focused on the spammers and the organizations that sought to stop their constant flow of junk mail, the telcos and ISP’s who profited greatly from spam receive a cursory mention.
I would recommend this book. Despite the fact that it was released in 2004 it remains timely from a historic standpoint. At least one spammer mentioned in the book still holds a spot on the Spamhaus ROKSO list of notorious spammers. As anyone with a email address can attest, spam is alive and well. The rules have changed but the game continues.
Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy for review.