This morning, I logged into the SPAM panel at my e-mail host’s web site.
I’ll wait for that to wash over you. You didn’t know there was such a thing as a SPAM panel, did you?
It’s not a “standard” feature. I use a company called Digital Housing and Administration to handle traffic on my primary e-mail account, and one of the things that comes along with their service is statistical analysis of my e-mail traffic. When an inbound e-mail went missing this morning I looked in the Digital Housing SPAM panel to find it, and was struck by the statistics you see above. Thus far this year, I’ve received 48,000 e-mails, sent 4,000, and had over 307,000 pieces of SPAM get filtered before they ever reached me.
And that’s just on the server side of things. Digital Housing and Administration saved me from going through a huge number of SPAM messages, but of the 48,000 messages that got through the Digital Housing servers and into my inbox, I’ll estimate that 90% were also SPAM.
No, this isn’t a primer. You don’t need me to tell you about junk mail, the difference between paper junk and digital junk, or the laws surrounding the digital kind (OK, maybe you do; that’s why our technology and business consultancy services at The Computer Answer Guy, Virtual VIP, and PC-VIP are here, after all). But the question isn’t rhetorical, either.
In that 48,000 pieces of mail I’ve received this year, there was lots of stuff I considered to be junk, but much of it came from people or companies that at one time or another I gave permission to e-mail me. Similarly, there’s stuff I wanted, like the missing note I went searching for this morning, that was filtered because Digital Housing’s SPAM algorithm saw something it didn’t like.
I deal with SPAM in other places, too. For example, we’ve seen over 10,000 pieces of SPAM at Answer Guy Central this year:
Thank goodness for the software we run to protect us against SPAM here; I wouldn’t have wanted to wade through all that junk. But look at the 106 false positives. SPAM fighting isn’t a perfect science.
If you don’t have SPAM filtering by your e-mail provider, haven’t figured out how to work the SPAM filters in your e-mail software, or just need “better” results, you could always use one of the many services that other companies want to sell you to fight SPAM. Even Google’s gotten in on the paid SPAM filtering act.
But at the end of the day, no SPAM fighting filter, software, or technique is perfect; you either use none, making yourself the filter, or you trust something else to block the bad guys and let the good guys through. And even if you think you have a handle on things, there will always be others who see SPAM differently than you do, people with their own agendas to fulfill, and even good guys whose goals get in your way.
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