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Pyramid Schemes On The Internet

Promises to make money quick have been around for ages, but now they've come to the internet. Here's the latest one I received:

Can you invest a dollar, just one not two, just $1.00. If so you may be interested in the following. You may make a few bucks. Check it out.

It then gives a web address I can click on. When I get to the web address, I find two email addresses on the page. I'm supposed to transfer $1.00 to the first email address on the list, using PayPal or some other service. When I do, they'll create a new page that has my email address on it, for others to send money to.

The promise? This is so inexpensive that everyone is going to sign up, so it's going to take no time at all for you to collect $5000!

When I visited this site yesterday, there were 8384 people signed up. At a rate of $1.00 apiece, that's a grand total of 1.7 people who have received their promised money.

As of this morning, the website had disappeared completely. So what about the other 8382.3 people?

But I don't want to talk about the stupidity or ethical issues involved in pyramid schemes; after all, this is an anti-spam site, right?

So I just wanted to point out that every person who signs up for this scheme has, by the simple act of paying a dollar, agreed to have his email address posted on a public website.


So just for kicks, I sat down and wrote an email harvesting program. It took me about 15 minutes. This was the first time I had ever tried to create an email harvester, so just imagine how quickly someone with experience could harvest over eight thousand email addresses from a single website!

When you're thinking about signing up for one of these schemes, you're thinking, "Hey, even if I don't get anything out of it, I've only lost a dollar..."

But the 'gains' are immeasurable...you too could be receiving a plethora of unsolicited emails every day for the rest of your life...just by signing up!

A Helpful Hint
Always think very carefully before you agree to have your email address posted on a public website. Whenever you have your email address posted, you run the risk that somebody is going to 'harvest' your email address and sell it to spammers.

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