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July 15, 2009

Add Spam to Death and Taxes

What can anyone say about email spam?  My eyes glaze over my inbox sometimes because of the huge amount of sexual, pharmaceutical,or banking transaction come-ons.  Moreover, they come in languages and alphabets I'll never understand.  Sometimes they even purport to come from me to me, and probably to a lot of other people.  It seems easy to harvest email addresses from web site contact information these days.  According to the latest MessageLabs report, spam traffic accounted for 90.4% of all email sent.  That's 1 for every 1.1 emails sent globally.

Does this make any money?  The answer is yes.  The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) issued a report last month on a survey they sponsored regarding spam.  Insights Worldwide Research conducted 800 interviews among general consumers across the United States and Canada.  400 of the interviews were via telephone, and the other 400 were conducted online.  The interviewees were screened so as not to include technicians or security experts.  One in six have responded to spam messages.  Of those 12% were interested in the products or services advertised.  Insert your favorite joke about P.T. Barnum here.  The lesson is spam obviously makes enough money for bad people to continue to flood mailboxes with it.  Another is that spammers tread where legitimate manufacturers fear to go or legally cannot.  There appears to be a market that only spammers can tap.

The MAAWG Report is here.  The latest MessageLabs Intelligence Report for email trends is here.  An article with more details about the MAAWG Report is here from Ars Technica.

July 15, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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