Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
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- My views might have changed in the 10 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
Since midnight, I’ve received 313 spam emails, and 11 genuine emails. So, on this pretty representative sample, 97% of my email is spam. That’s probably atypical, as my email address is liberally sprinkled all over the internet, but still, 97% of my email is spam.
On this very blog, there have been no genuine comments since midnight, but hundreds of spam comments (I haven’t even bothered to count…). That’s not really such a representative sample, but I’d say about 97% of the comments received on here are spam, too.
Yet, thanks to my spam filters, I’ve only seen one spam email get through to my inbox, and one spam comment was caught in my moderation queue (where spam comments are held if my advanced spam filter okays the message but my crude one doesn’t). Out of several hundred spam messages, only two have passed before my eyes. That’s much, much less than 1% of the spam I’m sent.
So, effectively, instead of the huge proportion of spam destroying email as a communication tool, it is probably less of an issue for me now than it was when only a few spam messages were hitting my inbox. With such a volume, the filters have become more finely trained, so that there are few false-negatives, and very, very, very few false-positives. Spammers are killing their own trade by inundating me.
Clearly, as long as people respond to spam, spam will continue. But it actually seems that, despite spammers getting more advanced, the success of their message in getting through is actually decreasing (except for on the odd occasion when things go wrong). So, perhaps, if the spam stops getting through to most people, it will stop being a problem for most people – and maybe the spammers will have to find other ways of conning people.