I doubt this bothers them very much. Even without your dilution, I'll bet most spam address lists have an enormous number of invalid addresses. But they have lots of zombies in their botnets, so they don't care about all the failed mail.
These days, one theory is that spammers are relying less on harvesting addresses and more on generating them. They use "alphabet spam", where they simply generate sequences of names like aaa@, aab@, and so on. Also, if they've harvested @, they add @, @, and so on. The reason we think techniques are in use is because there are many cases where someone will activate a new email address and immediately start getting spam, before they've ever published the address anywhere; the most obvious explanation is that the spammers generated the address themselves (another possibility is that they picked an address that was previously used by another customer).
Barry Margolin, email@example.com Arlington, MA*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me *** *** PLEASE don't copy me on replies, I'll read them in the group *** [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Yes, but just imagine, if every legitimate netizen out there would make the effort to add five or ten minutes of extra work to the load of their favorite spammer. You are correct, Barry, no one single effort is ever going to rid the net of all the vermin out there these days. As I see it, the only thing which will/might work is to make life as difficult as possible for as many spammer-scammers as possible. Distribution of spam-scam should not be the _easy_ job it is now; it should become a very difficult task. If one cannot easily distribute spam-scam because distribution scheme A (employed by a large number of netters) makes it impossible; scheme B will not work either; a large number of netters use that; and so forth with schemes C, D, and E. Their mailing lists and messege queues should be difficult to handle as they are for the rest of us. If it became as difficult to make money peddling spam lists and scam schemes as it is to run a decent mailing list, that would make me happy. In other words, your (on the internet) spam-scam projects should wind up netting you as little profit as those of us who maintain decent, worthwhile mailing lists (on the same net). That would make me happy. PAT]