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Researchers in San Diego, Berkeley and Budapest have analysed the business model of spammers to find potential starting points for combating spam. They examined approximately 1 billion emails that were collected from various sources over three months in late 2010. The emails contained 93 million different URLs which originated from 17 million domains.
....only 14 banks handled all the credit card payments involved. Two of them, Azerigazbank in Azerbaijan and St. Kitts & Nevis Anguilla National Bank in St. Kitts, worked for 14 affiliate programmes. Together with a third financial establishment, Latvian DnB, these banks reportedly handled 95 per cent of the payment traffic of all the investigated banks. The study also found that two German institutions, (B+S Card Service and Wirecard), were each active for one small affiliate program. Repeat purchases four months after the first ones showed that, although some affiliate programs had changed banks, the financial institutions used remained the same overall.
... the researchers suggested the creation of a blacklist for banks who process credit card transactions for spammers. They said that card issuers should refuse to make any payments to the blacklisted institutions. As such a blacklist could be updated relatively quickly, the researchers concluded that this approach could dramatically de-monetise the affiliate programs behind the spammers.