I sat down on a low wall to remove my shoes before stepping onto the beach yesterday, when an inebriated young man in tatty clothes came and stood in front me. He stuck out his hand and introduced himself as Pietrus. The hand smelled like wee. His breath was noxious. He was wobbling like he was going to fall on top of me. He started telling me about how he needs money for food…. I had a banana on me, so before he could even finish I gave it to him and fled the scene!
As I left the beach I kept an eye out for him so as to avoid a repeat encounter.
Now, in Marketing terms, what happened there was this: Pietrus successfully interrupted me. He had my Attention and had engaged my senses in that moment (smell, particularly). He had selected a susceptible prospect in me, and his attention-grabbing earned him a banana. In internet marketing terms - I was spammed!
Spammers like Pietrus do make money sometimes, but their efforts aren't sustainable: they repel their existing client base after one transaction, so earning becomes even more difficult as time goes on. We learn to avoid them.
But at least Pietrus scored a banana, which is more than can be said for his friends who didn't even try.
"If one cannot command attention by one's admirable qualities, one can at least be a nuisance!" - Margery Allingham