Email’s Out of Control

Posted March 1st, 2007 by Mike Cherim

You've Got Spam! I recently read an Information Week print article by John Soat called “E-Mail: A Plague of Biblical Proportions” (view online version) and it hit home. The article had some interesting numbers such as 200 billion being the number of emails sent every day — which translates to 30 messages per person daily — 70% of which represents the conservative estimated percentage of that mail which is spam. The print title noted it was “A Plague of Biblical Proportions” and, man, there’s some truth in that little nugget.

I have seven websites and about twenty email addresses — all of which have been removed from my web sites that I know of and I now rely solely on contact forms — yet my unfiltered mail count is about 20 emails per hour — per hour. Yes, that equates to 480 emails per day including mail list subscriptions and blog mail. It sucks. And the percentage of spam is roughly 70% for me so I’m average there anyway; I do get a lot of legitimate emails, and I actually answer them all, but wow! I wake up every morning to well over 120 messages (and I go to bed very late).

Am I alone? How many emails to you get per day, per hour, per minute, and what percentage of them are of the Stupid and Pathetic Advertising Medium category? There is an expression: “misery loves company” Soothe my misery by telling me we’re at least in the same boat.

If not, if you don’t suffer the scourge called spam, what’s your secret?

20 Responses to: “Email’s Out of Control”

  1. Email Server Online » Blog Archive » Email’s Out of Control responds:
    Posted: March 1st, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    […] Original post by Mike Cherim and plugin by Elliott Back […]

  2. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: March 1st, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Misery does in deed love company, Mike. Rest assured you are not alone. Unfortunately, your popularity probably means you get more spam than the rest of us, but I too am running *over* 70% spam in my email. Maybe some day I will need all that Viagra, or all those penny stock tips, but for now I just push delete. No harm, no foul, but I bet I miss an occassional legitimate email as I delete the numerous spam emails.

    Come to think of it, though, I bet my postal mail is about 70% unsolicited garbage, too. Fortunately, it’s easier to delete the spam email than it is to process the postal spam. For me, this involves handling the postal mail, tearing off my address, shredding it in a cross-cut shredder and placing the mail in the Recycle container. Each week I take the recycled paper out to the curb so they trash men can collect it, recycle it, and have someone else send it to me in some future unsolicited postal mail.

    I guess it’s really a small price to pay for living in the Information Super Age!

  3. Joe Dolson responds:
    Posted: March 1st, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    I know I get plenty…but I’ll have to spend some time to quantify it! We’ll see what happens today, then I’ll make a second comment…

  4. dm responds:
    Posted: March 1st, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    There is a saying:
    If you build it, they will come.

  5. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: March 1st, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    It’s like telemarketers — there are too many doing it. When they call I set the phone down and go about my business. About five minutes later I hang up the phone whether they’re gone or not. On rare occasions they will stay on the line repeating hello, hello, hello. I have to laugh at that.— Mike Cherim

    Regarding telemarketers: I interrupt them very early into their sales pitch and say: “Hey, I design websites. How about I build you a website?” They usually get the hint at this point, and hangup themselves. But I do like your method, too, and I may employ it just to change things up a bit!

  6. John Faulds responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 12:33 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, but my ISP’s spam filter appends the subject of all my spam messages with { SPAM } which makes it pretty easy to identify and delete them quickly.

    I was playing around with my MailScanner settings yesterday too - gonna delete without sending all messages marked as a ‘high’ spam possibility and deliver to a spam account all messages marked as ‘low’.

  7. Georg responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 4:21 am

    On my “open to the world” addresses I receive an average of 200 emails a day, of which around 50% is spam. The others are low volume and completely spam free.

  8. Rich Pedley responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 9:24 am

    If spam assassin or other means of identifying spam was not used before they even get to me, I really would hate to think how many I get per day. Even after those filters I get probably over 80% spam, and Thunderbird handles most of that pretty well.

  9. Joe Dolson responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Looks to me like I’m getting about 20% spam which actually reaches me in my “real” addresses; and about 99% spam in my catch-all box. It’s hard to quantify the numbers for me, since I have a lot of unique email addresses and a moderately complex system for filtering and sorting them, but I’d guess this is somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 200 messages a day.

    I have a dedicated account for almost every registration which is forwarded to one of the three accounts I actually read mail in, depending on priority and category. Within each account, I have additional filters set up to deliver the messages to particular folders…

    Altogether, it’s actually more work than I think it’s worth to try and figure out how many messages I receive in a day!

  10. Joe Dolson responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    The way my system works is that I can monitor what address has become a bastion for spam, and I know which account it’s associated with. I can very easily ditch any one account and send everything from it into spam-hell, and only have to change the address I have associated with one registration.

    So the only addresses I actually filter are the main two (the third of those IS the spam catcher, and only gets checked occasionally.)

    I’m with you — email is desperately in need of direct marketing regulation with teeth. Spam needs to be stopped, somehow.

  11. Jermayn Parker responds:
    Posted: March 5th, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    I have just spent a few hours in the last week or two trying to get rid of my spam on my blogs and boy did it take a bit. I use gmail and most of it gets filtered…

  12. Ms. Jen responds:
    Posted: March 6th, 2007 at 3:26 am

    I have routed all my domain/website emails through my Gmail. Gmail does a lovely job of filtering the spam for me and I just have to do a scan of their spam folder to make sure nothing else got in and then DELETE. Fast. I also have it set to reply back to the forwarded pop email’s original address. This is a big help for one of my email address’ that I have had since 1999 and is used for press releases.

  13. Robert Wellock responds:
    Posted: March 8th, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Rarely get Spam probably about 1 per month or so… Although I did have an annoyance with script kiddies and comment forms but now I’ve stopped 99.9% of their scripts from successfully working.

  14. Tommy responds:
    Posted: March 14th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Because of my work, my blog, and post I can get close to 50 emails an hour. About 5-10 percent are valid.

    About 30 of those are through my Gmail account which filters like 95% of it as SPAM. The other 20 or so are through my work account. I work at a virtual company and we don’t have the means to filter the way we should (I bitch about it 24/7) and the amount of junk mail I get is staggering. I mean the worst time of the week is early AM on Monday when I check my email after the weekend and have 500 plus messages. Maybe 12-15 are work related.

    It is, as you said, “A Plague of Biblical Proportions.” I complain, bitch, and yell about it 24/7, cause there are tools that would help. My greatest fear is I delete an important email and SPAM and then a project doesn’t get done or I don’t look like I am doing my job.

  15. Email Spam & You » 1955 » Accessible Website Design responds:
    Posted: May 21st, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    […] My friend Mike Cherim recently posted an article about his experience with email spam. This got me thinking about all of the spam emial that I receive, too. […]

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