After receiving the eHarmony database, I had to do some serious brainstorming on how I could maximize the profits with this data. I knew that the people who already had the database would be sending all kinds of dating offers to the e-mail addresses. I also knew that I would be able to mail to the same list, but I didn’t want to compete with the other guys. I had to think outside of the box, so I thought back to my very first MySpace operation nearly three years ago and came up with the brilliant idea to e-mail the contacts in the address book. Little did I know how much this method would change the spam game forever.
The software created would attempt to login to hotmail.com and check whether the user used the same password as they did on eHarmony. You have to remember this was back in 2010 and people weren’t as educated about security as they are today. So after running the accounts through the software about 25% of the people used the same password. When it was finally done I had around 1 million valid hotmail accounts that I could mail with.
I had just moved from Florida to downtown Los Angeles with a girl I met online, paying $3,800/mo for a condo that I probably couldn’t afford. In fact, at the time, I only had a couple hundred dollars to my name. Hurting for cash and Christmas being right around the corner, this operation had to work.
With little to no start-up cash, I had to bootstrap and think outside of the box once again. I remembered back to my first mailing operation where I used a service that rented cloud servers that allowed you to pay as you go. It was easy to trick the payment processing by using a prepaid gift card, as they would only check your card for $1 and bill you at the end of the billing cycle. It cost me $20 for a prepaid tracfone which was used to verify my account on the cloud service. It was their security precaution for my previous endeavors with their service.
I created 15 servers which meant that I was able to place my mailing software on each one. This meant that I had the power of 15 mailers. At approximately 100 mails per second across 15 servers, I was sending nearly 100,000 e-mails a minute. I didn’t realize exactly how fast this was, but I was soon going to find out. At the time I was promoting a bizop offer which is basically a make money from home program. It was a program that would pay me around $40 per sign up. At the peak hours of the day I was making something like $10,000 an hour. The adrenaline rush, excitement, and anxiety that this caused was unmatched to any drug I had ever tried. Over the weekend, I had accumulated something like 8,000 sign ups. That’s right, over 15,000,000 e-mails sent and $300,000 in revenue generated from a free database, a $20 tracfone, and a $10 gift card.
This was the first time that the internet was introduced to “contact mail”. It was also the first time that the advertiser (the person who owned the program) experienced this type of traffic. The advertiser was irate once he found out how the sales were generated and called it all fraud. While in a sense, I did agree it was deceptive, but what couldn’t be disputed was the fact that there was a ton of money generated and sitting in his bank accounts. We ended up settling on an agreement of $100,000 and parted ways. I was 21 years and this was definitely the most money I had ever seen. It was a moment in my life where I knew had discovered something great and would be set financially for a very long time.