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Spam is a profitable business for cybercriminals, with the revenue of a spam
campaign that can be in the order of millions of dollars. For this
reason, a wealth of research has been performed on understanding how spamming
botnets operate, as well as what the economic model behind spam looks like.
Running a spamming botnet is a complex task: the spammer needs to manage the
infected machines, the spam content being sent, and the email addresses to be
targeted, among the rest. In this paper, we try to understand which factors
influence the spam delivery process and what characteristics make a spam
campaign successful. To this end, we analyzed the data stored on a number of
command and control servers of a large spamming botnet, together with the
guidelines and suggestions that the botnet creators provide to spammers to
improve the performance of their botnet.