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Are Spammers Giving Up? 327

Posted by Zonk
from the only-in-our-dreams dept.
sfjoe writes "Are spammers giving up the game? Google seems to think so. In an article at Wired, Google, '... says that spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year'. They think their own filters are so good that spammers aren't even trying anymore. 'Other experts disagree with Google, pointing out that overall spam attempts continue to rise. By most estimates, tens of billions of spam messages are sent daily. Yet for most users, the amount of spam arriving in their inboxes has remained relatively flat, thanks to improved filtering.'"
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Are Spammers Giving Up?

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  • For Serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mashade (912744) <mshade@@@mshade...org> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:27PM (#21524063) Homepage
    All one has to do is glance at a mail log to see that no, in fact, spammers are not giving up. This one does not require reading tfa.
    • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@NosPam.gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:33PM (#21524163)
      I wouldn't be so sure. I did feel the ground get a bit cooler. As if something just froze over. However, it could just be my imagination. ... Oh yeah, It's just my imagination!
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:34PM (#21524173) Homepage Journal
      will she still love you more than any other guy? Or will your short and flaccid member be the shame you bear?
    • by coldmist (154493) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:39PM (#21524261) Homepage
      Like anyone on Slashdot reads tfa... ;)
    • Re:For Serious? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:44PM (#21524333)
      Wrong, because the issue is not whether all spammers have quit (they haven't), but whether there is a decrease.
      • Re:For Serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MenTaLguY (5483) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:00PM (#21524581) Homepage
        What I've heard from other sources is that there isn't a decrease, either. It may be that spammers are avoiding gmail specifically.
      • Re:For Serious? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:20PM (#21524873) Journal
        A closer reading of TFA suggests another interpretation.

        spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year.
        If the volume of legitimate mail increases more than spam mail, you'll see a "decrease" in spam as a percentage.

        If the volume of spam grew at X.2% compared to last year's growth of X.9%, that doesn't mean the volume of spam is going down. Hell, one way or another, the volume of spam as a percentage has to go down. It's hard to keep up a healthy growth rate once you've 10 billion a year.

        Lies, damn lies and statistics.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rm999 (775449)
          The issue then is whether the growth of e-mails is due to an increase in the number of users, or the number of e-mails per user. I would be inclined to guess that the first is much stronger of an effect than the latter (considering g-mail's explosive growth and no recent force that is encouraging people to write more e-mails). In that case, we would expect the number of spams per message to stay roughly constant, because the spammers would have new people to send each e-mail to.

          Yes, their conclusion depends
    • by Toonol (1057698)
      How many users look at mail logs? In my inbox I see far less spam than I saw a couple years ago. This may be entirely due to better filtering than by any decline in spam sent... but from my perspective it doesn't make a lot of difference.
    • Re:For Serious? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mike Buddha (10734) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:18PM (#21524855)
      I moved my email domain to Google Mail for Domains a few years back. I've notice a great reduction in the amount of Spam I get now, anecdotally. When I first moved my domain over there, I was averaging 900-1000 spam in the folder on a regular basis. I'm now getting roughly half that. It's amusing because now the only spam that gets through to my inbox is so convoluted that I can't tell what it is they're trying to sell.
    • Official Google Blog (Score:5, Informative)

      by freastro (1103067) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:24PM (#21524951) Journal
      According to the Official Google Blog [blogspot.com], there has been little decrease in spam, except for the amount in users' inboxes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This one does not require reading tfa
      Great! I mean after all, why start now?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:29PM (#21524097)
    ...all that cancer I've wished upon them.
  • I had 14 'spam' emails in my Gmail 'spam' folder this morning having cleared it last night. Of course, definitions are subjective on what is alot or a little spam..
    • by rvw (755107)

      I had 14 'spam' emails in my Gmail 'spam' folder this morning having cleared it last night. Of course, definitions are subjective on what is alot or a little spam..
      But that is marked and filtered. So it doesn't mess up your inbox. How many mails have you had in your inbox this last month? I had maybe two or three, and hundreds in the spam folder. But I don't care about those, as long as they are not false positives.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:35PM (#21524189)
        The spammers are still sending the spam. They aren't giving up.

        But the filters are getting good enough to filter most of it so the users do not have to see it.

        But the spammers are still sending it.
        • Spam has an unfortunate relationship - the spam recipient isn't the spammer's customer. The spammer's customer is the advertiser, either directly or indirectly. Blocking spam doesn't disrupt the connection between the spammer and his customer, and as long as the spammer can convince his customer that there's value in advertising via spam, the spam shall continue. To eliminate spam, it must become substantially less attractive than traditional advertising channels. I don't expect that to happen any time
    • by s20451 (410424) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:44PM (#21524335) Journal
      You remember when Bill Gates said spam would be over by 2006? Boy was he right -- I haven't had spam in my inbox in weeks. Thanks, Google.
  • My Experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bizitch (546406) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:29PM (#21524113) Homepage
    Gmail completely rocks!

    Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate

    I sometimes get the occasional Nigerian scam letters - but thats it
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by edwardpickman (965122)
      Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate

      So given the volume of spam what do you get, 200 or 300 a day?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by trcooper (18794) *
      Gmail freaking sucks. I get several spams TO MY INBOX every day. Frequently in some foreign language. There are 25 messages in my spam folder, and 5 in my inbox which are clearly spam just since midnight.

      Google is wrong both about spammers giving up and about the awsomeness of their filters.

      I'm not sure what my company uses, but Google should invest in that product... My corporate email has been listed on the interwebs for 10 years, and I MAY get a spam once a week, and usually that only gets to the blac
    • Actually GMail is pretty good and I could see a decline in SPAM to gmail because I wonder if the SPAMMERS are realizing its futile.

      Think about this. If GMail is really effective and blocks essentially all SPAM, why send them SPAM? Answer none, since it does cost something to send spam these days. Thus to optimize you avoid sending to gmail.

      I know I have noticed with my email server that there is a rotation. The spammers have stopped sending to many addresses and then try other addresses.

      Thus the SPAM soluti
      • Re:My Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nuzak (959558) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:05PM (#21524665) Journal
        Hormel has been very cool about the whole "spam" label. I know, if they were to fight it now, they'd lose, but they didn't fight it even when there were commercial "Anti-Spam" products just hitting the market.

        All they ask is one thing: that you not spell it in ALL-CAPS when referencing the email variety of spam. That's still their trademark. And I don't think it's too much to ask.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Sigismundo (192183)
          That's interesting. I've noticed that the Spam tab in Gmail includes links to Spam recipes running along the top. Maybe that's Google's way of acknowledging how cool Hormel has been about their trademark. (Gmail does seem to use "Spam" with just the first letter capitalized for both the Hormel product and junk email, though.) I've always wondered whether Google has some explicit arrangement with Hormel, or if they are just putting in the SPAM recipes to be cute.
    • Google needs to sell/service their spam detection service. I've gotten 100 spam e-mail messages since noon and 0 false positives or negatives. The only problem is I like to host my own e-mail (well at Dreamhost). Recently Gmail greylisted Dreamhost because of people using catchalls and forwarding their e-mail (making it look like Dreamhost was spamming).

      I would PAY MONEY for something like a spamassasin plugin with subscription. Currently SA still has a worse record than Gmail but it's about the only thing
    • by ocbwilg (259828)
      Gmail's spam detection rate is phenomenal. That being said, I haven't seen any decrease in spam to my Gmail accounts. I still only get one or two messages a month that make it through into my inbox, but if I check the "Spam" folder in Gmail (which I do empty regularly), I'm not seeing any decrease.
    • by Snowgen (586732)
      Last summer I started keeping track of how many messages were in my gmail spam "folder"--it seemed to hover around 500. Then it dropped to 400. And today it's 340.

      I can't even remember the last time one got through (on gmail--on Yahoo it happens frequently).
       
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gvc (167165)
      "Spam detection has got to be something like 99.999% accurate"

      Nonsense. 99.999% is one error in 100,000 emails. Have you even received 100,000 emails? Have you checked every one to see if the filter made at most one mistake? Have you repeated the measurement several dozen times, as would be necessary to make such a claim? Of course not.

      I would be surprised if the filter you are using (including Gmail) is 99% accurate.

      Here are some accuracy figures under ideal conditions [nist.gov]. From side-by-side comparisons
  • I've noticed... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by coldmist (154493) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:30PM (#21524121) Homepage
    that over the past few months, I've been getting a lot more spam mail through my ISP's filter, *and* through Thunderbird's filter. Those random words sprinkled throughout the message is even getting it past the Bayesian filtering now.

    It seems that have it figured out pretty good to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Those random words sprinkled throughout the message is even getting it past the Bayesian filtering now.
      It's a tactic called Bayesian Poisoning [wikipedia.org].
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fredklein (532096)
        My question is: Why are spammers doing things like that? I mean, here you have a person who obviously does not want spam, and has specifically set up a filter that will not just filter out spam, but will actually LEARN about new types of spam in order to filter then out, too.

        Does this sound like a person who will buy your crap? Why try so hard to get around filters in order to reach people who are obviously not going to buy anything from you?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Skim123 (3322)
          They are not trying to sneak around the Bayesian Filter you have installed on your machine, because, like you said, someone who has gone that far is clearly not going to get lured by spam. They are targeting the ISP's spam filters, so that the spam gets past their filters and into your grandma's Inbox.
  • Yahoo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tmarthal (998456) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:33PM (#21524167) Homepage
    I have no other experience with hotmail, but my free webmail experience has consisted of Yahoo! and Gmail.

    Let me tell you, Yahoo!'s spam rate has not improved. I am not sure if their filter isn't as good, or they are just taking money from the wrong people, but I get at least one spam message make it into my inbox per day, maybe 2-3. Oftentimes, the spamming links back to a geocities.com page. Coincidence? I don't know.

    With Gmail, I get one spam message per month (maybe) make it into my inbox. They are so rare, its comforting. And since they are so few and far between, I actually use the 'Report Spam' option, because it looks like get this that their filters are actually updated with my input, and I don't see spam of that same type ever again.

    This is different from Yahoo, I report spam all the time and yet the same exact message types make it past the filters into my inbox. I even report phishing there, but that doesnt' seem to help.

    Can anyone with internal Yahoo webmail operation shed some light into what they actually do with user input? It would be nice to know that someone, somewhere (or at least a script) is using my button clicking for input.
    • This is different from Yahoo, I report spam all the time and yet the same exact message types make it past the filters into my inbox. I even report phishing there, but that doesnt' seem to help.


      Everybody knows Yahoo tech support had been replaced with brain-eating zombies since a while ago. It's useless to report.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      I have an old Yahoo! account that I check on every so often. It's nothing but a spam magnet now, and no matter how many times I've reported all the spam, it's still getting through. I guess they're trying to be a spam lightning rod by letting it all through.

    • Yahoo is definitely having problems. I don't mind the occasional spam getting through, but I also keep the same email that I used their "spam" button on. Even worse, non-spam email shows up in my spam box at least once or twice a week, even when I have repeatedly clicked the "not spam" button. I have noticed this because I always scan the spam box before deleting, but I wonder how many people bother to do this without realizing how bad Yahoo is about this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by KillerBob (217953)
      Last time I used a free webmail was back before Microsoft owned Hotmail... that said, I do operate a mail server with webmail services for my users. I have a very low spam rate. Most don't make it into my inbox... maybe one or two a week that are false negatives and it's been over a month since my last false positive. Here's how I do it:

      Rule #1: Every user has the ability to set their own antispam sensitivity. Mine is set to 1.5 on SpamAssassin.
      Rule #2: Every user has two folders: "Spam-Bin" and "False-Posi
  • I seem to get as much regular spam as before. However I now get MySpace and Facebook spam as well. People trolling to be my friend in all sorts of special professional ways.
  • ...but having the mail stay parked with your Gmails, Hotmails, and Yahoo!s helps multiply the effectiveness of the anti-spam efforts.
    Friend of mine was laughing the other day when a plea to help a Nigerian came through.
    Nothing like a holiday note from a dear, old, !friend.

    <tangent>
    Anybody else have fun with mail servers configured to drop attachments? Forwarded something from Gmail to another organizational account (AOA) with a .zip and a .tar.gz attachment of stuff to work on.
    AOA's utterly bri
    • Given that most users do not even posses a program capable of decoding a .tar.gz (despite its near-ubiquity among IT folks, WinZip (or other programs that can read .tgz's) is by no means a universally installed program)

      I have gotten craploads of spam/attempted malware that contains zip files, but nobody has ever attempted to send me a .tar.gz file in a spam. Is dropping zip files only foolproof? no, but that doesn't mean that it is a bad idea.

      SirWired
      • by Sparr0 (451780)
        It is good to be the IT guy in a company where a suitable punishment for opening virus-laden zip files is to take away someone's computer for a few days. People don't learn until it actually matters to them, and doing a week's planning on paper is really annoying to most modern office workers.
    • A lot of corporate filters drop .zip files specifically due to a rash of Windows .zip file exploits that went on a couple years ago. .tar.gz was never affected, and so are not dropped.
  • Over the last week I've switched some filter rules from logging to not-logging, but I don't think for a moment that means the spammers have stopped trying. If I were to turn logging back on, I'm sure I'd get to watch the tail running on the log grow rapidly with each filter like a bugs hitting the zapper.

    I do wish there was an option for egrep -i -f blacklist where instead of returning the line that matched a rule in the blacklist file, it would return the rule in the blacklist file that matched the line.
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:37PM (#21524223) Homepage Journal
    They won't give up as long as there's a monetary incentive for them to send out spam. As long as they can sell something through spam, they will continue to send it out. We can talk about how wonderful filter ABC is, and compare it endlessly for false positives against filter XYZ. But in the end, its just a matter of time until the spammers defeat both of them, and we're on to filter ABC version 2.

    So no, in the end, nothing that most people are doing will do squat to bring about the end of spam. You can filter until you're blue in the face, and spam will still be sent. You can shut down all your mailboxes and open a new gmail address every week, and you'll still get spammed.

    Spam is sent because spammers can make money by sending it. Period.
    • Spam is sent because spammers can make money by sending it. Period.

      Right. And the hope is that once we make it sufficiently expensive to get a significant amount of spam delivered, it'll no longer be financially worthwhile. I think we're probably approaching that point. I wrote a spam-filtering recipe [freesoftwaremagazine.com] and now see maybe 1% of all the crap thrown at it. That means it's now 100 times more costly per delivered message than it used to be. We all know that spammers pay for only a fraction of the highjacked resources they use, but even then they still have to pay something

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CodeBuster (516420)
      But in the end, its just a matter of time until the spammers defeat both of them, and we're on to filter ABC version 2.

      Among the many useful techniques which have been brought to bear against spam from the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the notion of spam as an adversarial game between an intelligent agent (i.e. the filter) and the spammer(s). When this is combined with other AI techniques, such as Bayesian [slashdot.org] or Neural [wikipedia.org] network machine learning type algorithms, the filters become very powerful in
  • Spam will quit when Criminals give up crime. It'll never happen. They make money from it.
  • by sgeye (757198) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:38PM (#21524245)
    I manage the spam firewall where I work, and I have seen a significant drop this month vs last month. In October we processed 20,000-30,000 emails a day, averaging near 25,000. In the month of November, we have only exceeded 20,000 in a day once, with most days falling short of 15,000. This months average is closer to what it was during the summer, we had seen the increase to around 25,000/day during August/September.
    • I have NOT seen less (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pontiac (135778) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @08:31PM (#21526565) Homepage
      I manage the spam firewalls where I work and track spam statistics every week,

      2 months ago we received 20 million messages pr week and passed about 800,000 as legitimate mail

      Last week we saw 41 million and the same 800,000 passed as legitimate messages.. that's 98% spam!!!

      to break it down more..
      41 million recieved
      32 million rejections on RBL lists
      9 million passed onto the spam filters.. 10% of that gets through.
      This is for 1 week.

      We keep seeing spam double every 2 months.. It's gota stop growing at some point right??
  • not likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by untorqued (957628) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:39PM (#21524259)

    It's hard to imagine that spam filters have gotten to the point where spamming doesn't make economic sense. After all, the business model is something like

    1. Send an email to 10,000 random people
    2. Get money from one of those people
    3. Profit

    Even adding a couple zeroes to the recipient number (which improved spam filters should be doing) doesn't make much of a dent in the total expenses, if I understand correctly. Lawsuits under the CAN SPAM law, however, could make it too costly to get past step 1. Unfortunately, it seems like the judicial system still needs a little help here [slashdot.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Filtering may work decently, but it is resource intensive and depending on your email load, you may need a scanning box as big as your regular email server.

    Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylisting [wikipedia.org]
    or
    http://projects.puremagic.com/greylisting/whitepaper.html [puremagic.com]

    Our own office only has about 150 mailboxes but we don't do any filtering at all because of our greylisting as implemented by http://www.openbsd.org/spamd [openbsd.org]

    Even better we can greylist at the perimeter instead of letting all of that pointless traffic onto
  • While I've seen a decline in multiple e-mail accounts I use, I've noticed an increase in spam posts on a forum I now help run. Of course this could be due to a security hole in phpBB2 that we haven't patched, but with all the mods a previous admin made, it's now a pain in the butt to attempt.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOsPAm.optonline.net> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:43PM (#21524317) Journal

    Spammer 1: We can't get anything past Google's filter.

    Spammer 2: Agreed. [sighs]

    Spammer 1: I guess we'll have to give up spamming.

    Spammer 2: Seems that way.

    Spammer 1: Unless...

    Spammer 2: You have an idea?

    Spammer 1: Why don't we keep spamming everyone else!

    Spammer 2: Rapture! You're so smart!

  • I dunno, spam's not so bad. After all these years on email, my penis is longer, and never flacid because of these cool pills I'm taking, and this Nigerian guy gave me a few million bucks, which I subsequently donated to charity to save that poor little boy, even though all he wanted was teddy bears and flowers. Bill, tell these people that there's no such thing as spam. Come on. Will ya?
  • by karmaflux (148909)
    Next story, please
  • by olddotter (638430) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:48PM (#21524407) Homepage
    Perhaps spammers are focusing on how to get a smaller number of messages through the filters rather that upping the number of messages sent.
  • It's all about the zombies, of course. There really aren't that many different spammers left. Look at how little diversity there is in incoming spam. That's why GMail works so well. If you filter a large number of mailboxes in a coordinated way, the basic characteristic of spam, many messages sent from one source, just pops out at you.

    The only reason we still have a spam problem is zombies running on Microsoft Windows desktop machines. These are sources for the last few incoming spams:

    • 71-83-93-1
  • by poliopteragriseoapte (973295) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:49PM (#21524429)
    In Gmail, the problem is false positives: when Gmail labels a message as junk, it moves *the whole thread* to the junk folder. So if you have a thread with 20 messages, and the 21st is incorrectly classified as spam, poof, also all the other previous 20, that you had confidently filed away, silently go into the spam folder, where they are silently deleted after 30 days. This is a consequence of how Gmail deals with threads, or "conversations". I reported this bug to the Gmail team long ago, but they haven't fixed it yet as far as I know.

    So if you want someone using Gmail to delete an email exchange they had with you, send them an additional message in the same thread offering to sell them Viagra. They will never see the message, but the whole thread will be deleted in one month. Disclaimer: I have not tried this (but I have lost email due to the above problem, and I know I did, as I keep a separate backup of my mail via pop, where the missing messages were still present).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by PunkTiger (262898)
      That's odd. I have a Gmail account, and once in a great while, I'll get a good message tagged as Spam in the Spam folder that's part of an ongoing thread. But I've never had the whole thread move into the spam folder. I press the "not spam" button and the message is moved back into the thread where it came from.

      Maybe I've been lucky.
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:51PM (#21524463)
    Some spammers are giving up. Mainly because they realize that running botnets is a better way of making money.
  • I run a mail system for a small, but highly publicized group of emails. For the last few years, spam has been pretty steady: ~25k spam emails daily, maybe 50 quarantines, and about 1000 valid messages.
  • by jimlintott (317783) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:56PM (#21524525) Homepage
    Spammers, please take note that I actually have a large penis. Your assistance and concern, while appreciated, is simply not required.
    • Oversized penis ruining your posture?

      Act now to take advantage of Hacky Jack's new penis reduction kit.
      * No doctor authorization required
      * Endorsed by Lorena Bobbit

  • by Lucas123 (935744) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:56PM (#21524527) Homepage
    I suppose someone must be responding to them, but for the life of me, I can't imagine who. They're just an annoying part of working online that I've come to accept unfortunately. I'm still waiting for a law similar to the National Do Not Call List [https://www.donotcall.gov/] that will provide some relief to my inbox. Of course, you've got to deal with the international aspect of spam, but considering that ISP's can control what comes in, that shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.
  • I agree (Score:3, Informative)

    by pkulak (815640) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:58PM (#21524555)
    My personal experience backs this up. The amount of spam my hosted personal account gets is about half what it was 6 months ago. I was wondering the same thing myself.
  • My spam count (after DNSBL) for 2007Q4 is up to over 160,000. That's more than Q3 already. Just a year ago it it was less than a quarter of that.

    I want some of what those boys are smoking.

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:08PM (#21524703) Homepage Journal

    In an article at Wired, Google, '... says that spam attempts, as a percentage of e-mail that's transmitted through its Gmail system, have waned over the last year'.
    and

    Other experts disagree with Google, pointing out that overall spam attempts continue to rise.


    Well yes, they can easily both be true.

    If, for example, spammers are learning that sending spam to @gmail addresses is a pointless exercise in futility. So they further concentrate their efforts on non-gmail addresses.

    Google sees a significant drop of spam arriving at gmail (though via accounts which POP3 mail from external addresses, there'll always be some spam).

    Everyone else (not Google) sees their inbound spam increasing/strong.
  • Why give up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OnlyHalfEvil (1112299) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:12PM (#21524741)
    Let's even imagine that spam filters were 99.99% accurate, what would be the benefit of not spamming anymore? It costs them nothing, so if they send out millions of spams per day and only get a few bites, they're still making a profit.

    There's no incentive to stop spamming unless it becomes arduous to do so. Nether technology nor litigation are close enough to make that happen.
  • Surely at some point (probably later, rather than sooner) the number of users who aren't duped by spam will be such that spammers will have no market. The only reason that spammers continue to send spam is that there are gullible fools clicking the links and maintaining the demand for spam. Once the user base is educated enough (ie. no more users who haven't grown up with computers who say things like "But they've address the email to me. It must be important..."), there'll be no market. Or am I living in
    • by cmowire (254489)
      You are living in la la land.

      The problem is that people do buy certain products or make certain actions based on spam.

      This is slashdot, so I'm not going to bother giving a reference, but some reporters did find that once you click on the link, the transaction progresses in a fairly normal fashion.

      The reason why drug spam is so popular is because people are actually buying it. And because the herbal viagra has been reported to contain real viagra, it'll even work.
  • Bandwidth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The_Craigster (906389) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:14PM (#21524789)
    How much extra bandwidth would the internet have, if there was no spam bouncing around. I say we shut off port 25 on every router for just 6 hours and watch the bit torrents just scream :). Have a moment of email silence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by houghi (78078)
      And then after the 6 hours, turn off all the spam filters. Let us then see if people will start taking Spam seriously. Because now it is just a bit troublesome, exept for those who do the actual filtering.

      The thing is, why should I be botherd about spam if I hardly see it? I remember when spamming started, I got about 2-5 a day. Now with all the filters I get about 2-5 a day. The fact that 20.000.000 are filterd out or that 20 are filterd out is of no relevance to me.

      Most people are thinking about how much
  • Perhaps in email... (Score:2, Informative)

    by zykhou (1045884)
    What TFA fails to realize is that spam comes in many more forms than simply emails. My local lan group runs a PHPBB forum, which kept getting rather mysterious "people" registering with advertising in their "web site" profile field. Granted, we've ramped up our security, but from time to time bots still register. Likewise, if you look at many youtube videos nowadays, tons of comments are just obvious spam and other automated messages. Not as directly targeted as email per se, but still spam nonetheless.
  • I've been graphing the filtered mail on my server ever since I kicked in grey-listing over a year ago (see my spam graphs [miguelito.org]) and there is a very clear rise in what spamassassin was catching over the last couple months, and then last week it just dropped off massively. Ironically it was the day after my family (who I serve mail for) was just complaining about how they were getting so much more every day that even spamassassin wasn't catching.

    I did set them up with a box to drop in spams that would be nightly
  • Currently my server filters are stopping 20-30 pill and porn spams coming from gmail themselves. And they just /dev/null all abuse@ emails. This may not sound like much, but all the gmail spams are hammering 2 of my users. Sometimes I firewall off gmail for a week or so to just throttle the flood.

    Webmail providers suck ass.

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