Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

Spam: Winning or Losing?

So from a research perspective, I am curious— are we winning or losing the battle against spam? On the one hand, there are reports that upwards of 80% of all email is spam. But only a small fraction of that ever sees our inboxes. Sometimes I feel that the fraction is shrinking, but other times (like now), I feel that everything is just a stop-gap, and that this is really an arms race with a huge amount of wasted resources, both in bandwidth and in person-hours.

I was discussing this with a group of colleagues, and one made the claim that this is a “solved problem” for corporate America. That is to say that when you are working at a big corporation, you don’t get spam email in your inboxes. Is it true? If so, do you know why?

What about personal mail? Does the answer change depending on whether it’s an ISP mail or a webmail? What about for preventing spam from being received by young children? I’m just not convinced we’re anywhere close to a good solution on spam. Of course, there are others who argue that spam is fundamental. I hope not.

One Response to “Spam: Winning or Losing?”

  1. S. VanderKam says:

    I have to say that since we are using a new system with a fancy-schmancy email filter program, more of our regular email has been labeled with [phish] or [spam] even when it is a reply to a message I sent, or comes from an “approved” source email. I can’t figure out how to turn off the “labeling” yet. It really has helped dump the obvious junk mails, but otherwise it has just been a pain. Also, my other email account was assigned originally by verizon before you could choose usernames on their system, and it is a 7 digit name that starts with vze… I have had more people tell me that they didn’t see my message because it had been already dumped into their junk mail. I’ve had to change my originating email just so my messages can be seen. Very annoying.

    -S.

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