Why Spam persists?
In a recent talk I did, someone from the audience asked what those emails about lottery winnings and million dollar inheritance are all about? How will one know if they’re true or not?
That, ladies and gents, is the reason why spam still persists — humans’ inherent curiosity.
I replied — if it’s too good to be true, it must be spam. The battle against spam is a battle of numbers. Yeah, most internet users nowadays know the difference between legit email and spam as well as anti-spam technology getting more and more robust yet that does not seem to stop them spammers. Well, all they have to do is work harder.
Just look at the stats gathered by Postini (email security company recently bought by Google):
That’s about 10 to 12 Billion spam emails each month in the last 6 months. Let’s then factor that number into the economics of spamming.
If out of the 12 Billion spam emails sent, 99% are caught by anti-spam filters, the remaining 1% is still 120 million strong. Of that 120 million, if only 1% of the spam that gets thru to the average person’s inbox actually converts, that boils down to 1,200,000 successfully monetizable spam. If each one can generate the spammer $1, that would net him $1.2 million a month. And that’s just for email. In the Philippines, 88% of emails are spam.
About 15 months ago, blog anti-spam service Akismet reported 90% of the trackbacks and comments on blogs are spam. Today, that figure isn’t any better. About 9.7 million out of the 10.8 million comments/trackbacks are spam each day as tracked by Akismet and over 2.55 billion so far in the last 19 months.