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.


Mossberg on Amazon’s Kindle book reader – just fair.

Bloggers roundly panned the Kindle a few weeks ago during it’s launch, and then Amazon sold out of them almost immediately.  However many (including me) suspect they just didn’t build that many.   Given the negative initial reactions from so many, and the fact Amazon has very conspicuously failed to mention how many sold, I think the “Kindle sell out” was a marketing ploy rather than a sign of the Kindle’s popularity.    In fact I’d be surprised if they sold more than 50,000 or so – probably far short of the numbers needed to bring the Kindle project close to anything approaching profitability.

Adding insult to injured initial reputation, Walt Mossberg just wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the Kindle is just an OK device.   He was not too hard on it, but no endorsement either.     In contrast and over at CNET, Josh Taylor is warming up to the Kindle after a few weeks of use.    Of course he was on a beautiful tropical beach reading, so maybe that colored his perception to a Kindley hue ?     All I know is that at $399 + $9.99 per book and a buck per blog I won’t be buying one anytime soon.    

Venture Capital: Fred rules but his 3x rule is too optimistic! ?

Fred Wilson’s got a fascinating post about his history of investments over at Union Square Ventures.   Of course he’s got every reason to post his results, which appear to be exceptional although he has left out a key factor in his little analysis, which is time.  I note over there:

Fred, these are impressive results and to my understanding much better than average VC returns, which are negative, right? Don Dodge posted min-analysis some time ago where he wound up concluding there was a lot more VC failure than is normally thought.

There are elite guys like you and Jeff Clavier who “beat the averages”, but isn’t “making money” with startups an unrealistic expectation, since those VCs and companies that succeed are still around to talk, but those who fail are not blogging about the burgers they now flip to pay the bills?

I’m also noting that without “time” as a factor the return is not meaningful. 3x is easy….if you use a 15 year horizon!

At a very modest annual return of 7.33% one would expect to triple an investment in 15 years.     A 10% return will leave you with 4.5x your initial investment in that same time frame.    More dramatically, if time is not a factor then I’m happy to guarantee you a return of, say, a million percent.  It’ll just take a while.

This isn’t to suggest Fred isn’t a great investor because I think he is the exception to the normal rule in Venture Capital, which are low returns.   After I wrote about Don Dodge’s suggestion that average VC returns appear to be negative  Jeff Clavier also suggested in a blog comment here that only the top 25% of VC firms are averaging positive returns, and this really shook up my understanding of things.