By Stas Bekman.
Published: May 15th 2006
SPAM is not an abbreviation for "Squirrels, Possums And Mice", but it's rather a "Self Promotional Advertising Message". Why spammers send spam? - because it pays off, and apparently a big way. If spammers sends 10,000 messages suggesting to buy viagra or enlarge your penis and your breasts (they usually come in pairs since spammers can't tell whether an email address they send to belong to a male or a female) and one person follows the lead, they made a small profit. Since they didn't spend a cent to send these 10,000 messages, it was a pure profit. Now there are millions of users out there, so why not send to 10,000,000 and make a 100 times bigger profit (assuming that there is still just one sucker in a group of every 10,000 netizens). Next, why not send more than one spam to the same users, making even more profit. Finally, there are many spammers out there, all wanting to make a big profit. The result: as of today an estimated 80+% of all email traffic is undesired email (the majority being SPAM).
An obvious way to make SPAMing unattractive is to make sending many message financially unsound - i.e. make the sending cost of each email a fraction of a cent, and while most users will be unaffected, spammers will suddenly have to shell out a lot of money - suddenly it doesn't pay off anymore. Think of snail mail - you do occasionally receive a undesired email, but you don't get 1000 of those a day, since nobody could afford sending those. However for various reasons (e.g., micro-payments infrastructure doesn't exist and it's more expensive to make a transaction than to charge a fraction of a cent), at the moment this solution is not applicable, and therefore we continue seeing more and more SPAM since many people like to make money in unacceptable (to most) ways.
Read about the Remedies to learn how to deal with the problem.
And here are some pointers for additional information on the subject:
Fight Spam on the
Anti-Spam Home Page (http://www.arachnoid.com/lutusp/antispam.html)
The Coalition Against
Unsolicited Commercial Email (http://www.cauce.org/)
- The Issues, Impact and Reducing SPAM: Part 1 (http://www.windowsecurity.com/whitepaper/anti_spam/Impact-Reducing-SPAM-Part2.html),
Software Reviews (http://spam-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/)
And here you can find books that will provide an indepth coverage of SPAM and related material:
Anti-Spam consumer level:
Anti-Spam technical level: