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Billions of dollars down the drain – The Spam Situation

Cost of spamWe have had the honor of successfully helping millions of people fight spam through the last 10 years. However an estimate from the research firm Radicati Group, still puts the number of daily spam mails sent per day to 294 billion. That’s about 2.8 million emails every second.

The current spam situation

Most people hardly notice the huge problems that spam causes. That is all due to companies like SPAMfighter and improved anti spam filters from mail suppliers like Gmail. Unfortunately Google still has to fight, receive and store these mails costing them A LOT of money.

Here’s a screenshot of my spam inbox for the last 2 days:

gmail spam


Billions of spam mails still get through and not only takes you time to delete but also makes you vulnerable to viruses and phishing attempts luring in these spam mails.

The success rate for these attempts is of course very low but each year many millions of dollars are taken from the victims.

The cost of spam on companies

A small nuisance that perhaps only takes a couple of seconds to delete but when you enter the numbers and add other factors the numbers are alarming.

Large companies spend thousands of dollars each year in lost productivity (this is not even including time spent by employees reading the mails, falling for phishing attempts or security breaches caused by these spam mails)

We have actually made this spam calculator where you can figure out how much your company might be spending on lost productivity.

Here’s an example below with a larger company with 500 employees. Their hourly salary is $30 and they receive 10 spam mails a day (not uncommon at all). The time they spend to acknowledge it’s spam and delete it is 4 seconds.

This little procedure costs the company almost $37.000 a year (only counting the time it takes to delete a mail)

spam calculator

Think of this on a global scale and you can begin to imagine the cost.

We have a lot of companies that depend on us to prevent this from happening and are very grateful for that. Now let’s go find those spammers…

Where does it all come from?

Most spam are sent from botnets (basically a network of virus-infected computers around the world) which have been infiltrated by malicious intent. A study from Sophos puts the sent spam mostly from these continents:

  • Asia 37.8%
  • North America 23.6%
  • Europe 23.4%
  • South America 12.9%

These are not necessarily where the spammers come from, but where the hijacked computers are located.

The rise, fall and plateau of spam

As you can see from the Google Trends graph (which only dates back to 2004) you can see the rapid decline of spam searches until it plateaued in 2009.


As we mentioned earlier this fall is mostly due to better technical anti spam solutions from companies like Gmail and Hotmail.

However the problem remains and unfortunately there is no definitive way to stop spam altogether just yet.

3 Ways to prevent spam

To finish of here’s 3 quick ways you can prevent spam from landing in your inbox.

1.  Don’t leave your mail address on the internet.

A lot of these spammers scan the internet for e-mail to collect to their database. If you have to put it on a message board or etc. write it like this: “myemailaddress at domainname . com” or similar. This makes it harder for basic scrapers to harvest it.

2. Signing up for random contests or giveaways.

A lot of these sites sell your mail address to spammers and other people trying to take advantage of you. An option could be to have a separate mail address for these things.

3. Sign up for SPAMfighter’s anti spam filter

We have been rated the #1 spam filter many times and won dozens of awards for our filter and are very proud of it. If you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail check it out – It’s free.

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About Philip Mahler

VP of Marketing at SPAMfighter. Find me on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn
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