Spamming down?


Wired is reporting that according to Google the total amount of email spam is going down.  (Thanks to Metroknow for the tip) .

This should be great news for many but it doesn’t really jive with my personal experience. My Google gmail spam box now gets on the order of a spam email every *minute*, 24/7 -(I need to check but I think I’m in the neighborhood of a thousand per day or close to it).   I get another several hundred per day that pass the filter, though I thin, this is partly the challenge of having some old email addresses that I don’t want to close down.   Generally, the older the address the more spam lists it winds up on.   I’m even having some issues at my Godaddy server with SMTP relays of the swirl of daily spam messages.

Update thought inspired by FG’s comment below:

I is possible that filtering has reached a point of diminishing return because at the level of tens of millions of emails the cost to send them is no longer trivial.

I’m guessing at these numbers: Let’s assume Google and other filters can kill off 9990 out of 10000 spams initially sent, and users then ignore 9 out of the remaining 10. Thus the spammer must send 10,000 to get one read. If the action on that one is 1 in 100 then it is going to take 100 x 10,000 = a million spam notes to get a single sale. At that level the bandwidth and time are no longer trivial costs, though they are still small.

   

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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5 Responses to Spamming down?

  1. Fools Gold says:

    Spammers have no incentive to diminish their efforts whereas the quoted Google engineer may have a bias toward trying to indicate his company’s efforts have gained some modest success. I would wonder what sample was used to make a determination of ‘flat or maybe even decreased’.

    Why would spammers back off on their efforts? It costs them nothing to try to evade spam filters. A company that sends out physical catalogs has a cost involved and a desire for efficiency. A company that sents out spam has no costs to cut down on at all. Many spammers will find a certain email address and create dozens of variations on it just on the chance that one of them will get through. Why should a spammer stop doing this?

  2. JoeDuck says:

    FG I think you have a good point about how to spin the story, but it’s possible filtering has reached a point of diminishing return because at the level of tens of millions of emails the cost to send them is no longer trivial.

    I’m guessing at these numbers: Let’s assume Google and other filters can kill off 9990 out of 10000 spams initially sent, and users then ignore 9 out of the remaining 10. Thus the spammer must send 10,000 to get one read. If the action on that one is 1 in 100 then it is going to take 100 x 10,000 = a million spam notes to get a single sale. At that level the bandwidth and time are no longer trivial costs, though they are still small.

  3. Fools Gold says:

    Bandwidth? Since most spammers make use of botnets they are already using somebody else’s bandwidth. Many spammers use servers in foreign countries wherein the spammer is simply buying bandwidth and protection from some politician at a flat rate. The electronic commons? Spammers are selfish!

    Analysis of the economics of spam varies but one seizure of records for a seller of male enhancing herbs showed just how profitable spam can be.

  4. David Mould says:

    Joe,

    How much of a correlation between spam volume increasing in Gmail and Google opening up gmail so you no longer need an invite to join.

    For me spam increased once the system went open.

    Would like to know your thoughts.

    David

  5. JoeDuck says:

    David I’ll have to check when I saw the “surge”…

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