We all hate spam. But we figure it must be worth it to someone since there's so damn much of it. But... apparently not. A new paper from the Journal of Economic Perspectives estimates it brings in a total of $200 million in revenue worldwide per year. And then the rest of us spend $20 billion cleaning it up. Ugh.
How is that possible? It's insanely cheap to send spam, that's how. The paper suggests that things like raising the cost of payment processing would have a dramatic effect on spammers' overhead, and would probably be more effective than, say, government intervention. [Journal of Economic Perspectives via Atlantic]