I’m taking you back to 2007 and although it wasn’t the first social network, it was the one of my era, and the one that introduced me to making money online. I remember browsing MySpace and being intrigued by all of the comment spam of free ringtones and $500 gift cards to Macy’s and other retail stores. Now at the time, I didn’t exactly understand how this spam worked, but I knew Macy’s or any other retailer wasn’t giving out free $500 gift cards. I did some researching and found out that these were actually affiliate marketing offers. The person who sends out the link would earn somewhere between $1 to $2 for each time someone filled out the form. For ringtones it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $12.
Now that I understood the process, it was time to get to work. Before I do anything, I always brainstorm on the most effective way to achieve the best results. In this case, I wanted to get the most sign ups, which meant I needed to get as many people as possible to see my spam. At the time, I was employed at a local pet store that was paying me a whopping $7/hr. After saving a couple of paychecks, I paid $400 to a programmer from the AOL scene to build a custom mass messenger for MySpace.com. I then created a fake profile of an attractive female and mass messaged about 300 celebrities and musicians to check out my new pictures. Little did they know, I created a clear-div overlay (a transparent image that lays on top of my entire myspace profile) that redirected them to my phish page, regardless of where they clicked on my profile.
I successfully phished the majority of the accounts and continued the process of adding a clear-div overlay on their profiles, which acted as a phishing worm. Soon I was phishing anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 accounts per day. There was a program called MyChanger that helped automate my entire operation. After the phish were loaded into the software, I would launch my very own free gift card and ringtones campaigns. With this program I could update their profiles, send out bulletins, and even leave comments on their friend’s profiles.
I was 17 years old and cleared $5,000 in my first week of online entrepreneurship. From that day forward, I knew exactly what I wanted to become.