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Study: 95 percent of all e-mail sent in 2007 was spam

(Credit: Barracuda Networks)

There was a time–2004 to be precise–when spam “only” consumed 70 percent of all e-mail. Those were the good old days. Today, as Barracuda Networks’ annual spam report shows, upwards of 95 percent of all e-mail is spam. In 2001, the number was 5 percent.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Ironically (or not), the United States’ Can-Spam Act has done absolutely nothing (zip!) to stop the spam onslaught. It has come to the point that, as a separate Barracuda survey of 261 business professionals shows, we increasingly prefer telemarketing to e-mail spam. (I find that I’m much more willing to give my home address and phone number than my e-mail address these days. You?)

Some salient numbers from the reports:

  • The Barracuda Networks study, based on an analysis of more than 1 billion daily e-mail messages sent to its more than 50,000 customers worldwide, found that 90 percent to 95 percent of all e-mail sent in 2007 was spam, increasing from an estimated 85 percent to 90 percent of e-mail in 2006;
  • Barracuda Networks’ poll also showed that 50 percent of users received five or fewer spam e-mails in their in-box each day. Almost 65 percent received less than 10 spam messages each day, while 13 percent were inundated with 50 or more spam e-mails daily. (That’s me, unfortunately.);
  • Spam is becoming more sophisticated. Barracuda Networks found “that the majority of spam e-mails in 2007 utilized identity obfuscation techniques”;
  • Spammers also increased the usage of attachments, such as PDF files and other file formats in 2007.
  • 57 percent of respondents view spam e-mail as the worst form of junk advertising, close to double the 31 percent that cited postal junk mail. Only 12 percent chose telemarketing;
  • What is to be done? I suspect, as Dana Blankenhorn has written, that the spam problem is not an individual’s problem. It’s a community’s problem and, hence, a community response is arguably the best way to resolve it. There are interesting open-source projects that leverage the power of community to identify and block spam.

Read the rest of article on C-Net HERE