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Is the reign of spam coming to an end?

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Spam AttackSince 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.

This 1,062nd post was filed under: Blogging, Technology.

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Some random old posts

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How can religious people explain this? / December 2004, 1 minute long

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