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Make money fast

"Make money fast!" is the title of an email spam that has persisted on the Internet since at least 1988. In that year, a person named David Rhodes (or "Dave Rhodes," which he used as his Internet name) forwarded an email chain letter entitled "Make Money Fast!" to various Internet users. The chain mail scheme continued, passed from person to person, though it wasn't until spamming became a major problem online (beginning in early-to-mid 1994) that the circularity of "Make money fast" exploded. Up until that point, "Make money fast" was considered to be primarily a nuisance. (It was also, and continues to be, grounds for a person to lose his or her Internet account, because chain letter schemes are illegal in many jurisdictions.)

The text of "make money fast" originally claimed to be "perfectly legal." It encouraged readers of the email to forward one dollar to a list of people provided in the text, and to add their own name and address to the bottom of the list. Using the theory behind pyramid schemes, the resulting chain of money flowing back and forth would supposedly deliver a reward of thousands of dollars to the ones participating in the chain, as copies of their chain spread and more and more people sent one dollar to their address.

In fact, the idea of a money-forwarding email letter turned out to be worthless. When the popularity of the Internet exploded in the mid-1990s (and spam became a serious problem), literally millions of copies of "Make money fast" were forwarded to unsuspecting Internet users by thousands of different persons. It became one of the most annoying and persistent spams in existence. It was soon decided by anti-spam activists and Internet service providers alike that "Make money fast" was worthy of being deleted immediately upon being spotted, and users forwarding the chain letter would swiftly have their accounts terminated.

Nevertheless, "Make money fast" continues to plague Internet users to the present day.

Variations on "Make money fast" have evolved, usually by spammers who change the subject of their email to "This really works!," "Try it, it works!," or "You are a winner!"

Dave Rhodes' fate

Dave Rhodes himself served a ten-year sentence in federal prison as a result of "Make money fast." As a condition of his parole, he wrote his own Web site denouncing "Make Money Fast".

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