May 2, 2006

Spam: the bottom line

David Ferris tells me that his surveys show email users think they spend an average of five minutes a week dealing with spam. (Could somebody please post a link to the study in the comment thread below? David? Richi? Thanks!) On the one hand, that’s a huge problem. If you take the 5 minutes figure literally, that’s on the order of $100/year/user worldwide — i.e., order of magnitude $10 billion/year.

On the other hand, while it’s plenty of reason for enterprises to have good anti-spam, it’s not quite enough to motivate individuals to do a lot about it, unless there’s clever marketing driving them. Putting cash in the end-user’s pocket would be a good start; people like free money, the more so if it’s advertisers who are made to pay.

Thus I stand by my prior opinion: Sender-pay systems are a good idea if and only if some of that pay goes directly to the email recipients.


3 Responses to “Spam: the bottom line”

  1. David Ferris on June 20th, 2006 7:08 am


    I was wrong about people spending an average of 5 mins/week checking their quarantines. What I should have said is that when people regularly check their quarantines, they typically spend about 5 mins/week doing so.

    A great many users don’t check their quarantines, or only rarely.

    Your concern was well-placed.


  2. Cade on December 8th, 2006 10:57 pm

    WordPress Trackback Spam!!!
    I have installed plugins that prevent comment spams, but this won't prevent trackback to be blocked. I've been spam by many
    MFA websites that most probably is from the same network with trackback, but they are not linking me on their website. May I
    know how do they do it and how do I stop it? Without disabling trackback?
    Thanks, and I'm using WordPress.

  3. Curt Monash on December 13th, 2006 5:59 am

    Oops. Akismet, ironically, gave me a false positive on your post. I just dug it out of the spam listing.

    Anyhow, I found that I needed to manually disable trackbacks on a few posts, and that cut my volume of incoming spam wayyyyy down.

    Contrary to your experience, I find that Akismet DOES pick up my trackback spam. Still, I went through the exercise of figuring out which posts the spam was concentrated on, and turning off their trackbacks, and now my spam is down by a huge factor (probably over 90%).

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