PC Pitstop SPAM Survey


The initial analysis of our March 2008 SPAM Survey results.

Overall spam volume stabilized in February 2008 for the second month in a
row at 78.5% of all email. This is up from a 61% average for the first half of 2007.
(Spam Monthly Report)

Nearly 60% of Advanced users are using 3rd party filters.

Of those identifying themselves as Novice users, 24.1% never check their Spam filters.

Nearly 90% of those responding, say they lose some amount of time to sorting Spam.

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28 thoughts on “PC Pitstop SPAM Survey”

  1. Can’t be that difficult to stop SPAM. All SPAM email addresses end in “.de”. If wild cat characters were available, i could stop them coming in using yahoo’s “block addresses” mode simply by inserting *.de in the block email address list.

  2. I do so wish that there was an answer to stop SPAM. I cannot send out e mail to some of my friends,because their e mail server says that my e mail server has a poor rating and sends out a lot of SPAM. For now, I transfer my e mail from lightningnet.net to my MSN address and reply from there. Complaining to my ISP so far has done me no good and changing ISP’s is not an option unless I wish to return to pokey dial up.

  3. Most of our recent SPAM has a rating of 0, making our SPAM filters useless. I for one, don’t want SPAM of any kind for any reason. I want only emails from sites/people that I contact first. I also don’t want someone else to have the ability to call one of my newsletters SPAM and have them blocked. I don’t think a perfect solution exists at this time, and doubt it ever will with the current internet process and proxies.

  4. As strange as this is going to sound…and believe me it definately IS going to sound strange..
    But Spam is actually a worthwhile advertising campaign. I know everyone hates it, and most people delete it, b ut those few who do respond make up quite a bit of a company’s revenues.
    In a business like mine, where random emails would get 0 feedback, doing targetted campaigns ( AkA, we found out who actually has what we want / want to buy / would actually be interested in ) and sending spam that way is far more profitable ( and free! ) than newspaper ads, let alone TV ads.

    I’m sorry for playing the devil’s advocate here, but it has to be said.

  5. I use “Postini” (a service provided by my local ISP). If some thing gets through, I can forward it to Postini and they, then block it for all their customers. I very seldom get a spam, they are filtered into a bulk file I can check if I want to, but when I do get one it’s a high point of my day knowing they just signed their own death warrant for every one who uses the service!

  6. Beleagured Wally

    Interesting discussion… Basic spam has not been a huge problem for me thanks to my little ISP (midmaine). I have to sort through several hundred every couple of weeks to make sure no good stuff got eliminated, but it’s worth it.

    The bigger problem seems to be the trade association I belong to. In order to be a member you HAVE to give permission to receive spam (theirs) and that gets you on a gadzillion lists. Unsubscribing the lists only seems to verify your address and get you on more lists.

    I’d love the ability to bounce specific emails.

  7. With a online business, Im constantly being made aware of new ways that Spammers can get thru and into your Inbox. Its fascinating how many ways they find to get into my Inbox, and Im pretty good at knowing how to block em.
    I cant imagine what the casual online user has to contend with.
    Spam is big business and as long as it pays, it will continue.

  8. People asking for someone to develop a tool to stop spam please read:

    Email is sent via email servers, email servers can be setup in country X where spam will be sent to country Y. Country Y doesnt have the established channels and means to take legal action against spammers in country X, all it can do it stop spam from the offending server in country X being delivered in future. Once the spammers in country X realise most of their spam from that particular email server is no longer being delivered to inboxes or at all, they simply setup another email server and they are off spamming again. When a spammer sets up their own email server, they have the option of configuring their email server software so that they can specify the senders address, that’s why mail seems to come from sources that it obviously didn’t. You usually can’t do this on a properly configured email server but they are allowing this option since it is a tool of their (despicable) trade.

    Also, legitimate email servers around the world that are not configured correctly can also be used as re-mailers. This means that Joe from spam.com can send millions of emails and make them look like they are coming from bob from legitimateco.com’s accounts (or anyones for that matter, once they can use bob’s email servers in this way they can say the mail originates from anyone they like). Bob very soon receives millions of email himself from ISP’s all over the world telling him that he’s a spammer, Bob realises his email servers have been used as anonymous re-mailers, sacks his IT department and gets his new IT department to close that door.

    The latter variant happens less frequently nowadays allegedly due to there now being large scale spam operations and companies working out of asia who are exploiting the lack of legal channels available to the governments of the countries who’s citizenz receive their spam. They are rumoured to be paying government officials and even the state directly to turn a blind eye to their practises in some countries.

    Once you realise that this is how spam works, you can then see that there really can be no software fix for it. Governments could try to forge means by which countries housing spammers will receive harsh penalties when spam is traced back to their ISP’s and servers, but would they really do that for spam? And how would they do it anyway? Not saying it won’t happen but I don’t think it is considered a problem that merits such action by the powers that be, also they would be stepping on a lot of governmental toes by doing so which is another significant reason why they might not! Even if they did take such measures the technology would always exist to enable spam and it would still happen, things like people setting up fake companies with fake ID’s, completing spamming contracts then disappearing.

    They get your email in the first place by sending out millions of emails to random addresses on a domain, for exmaple a@a.com, b@a.com, c@a.com, etc. They receive a bounce back saying invalid address from all except b@a.com so they then know that b@a.com is a valid email address, this then gets added to their lists (which they trade and sell amongst themselves). Also they program bots that search through webpages for any email addresses, for example “Hi, I need help, I have itchy and flakey scalp and just can’t seem to get rid of it! Email me with suggestions, thanks. john@domain.com“, john@domain.com now gets added to their spam lists.

    The only real solutions are all brute force such as only allowing email in from address that have been manually whitelisted. Takes the freedom away from email and would certainly mean more inexperienced users would find email less usable. It’s not a perfect solution but then thats the world we live in, full of b*****ds.

  9. Like Beryl (comment on 22 March), I also experienced a very sharp increase in SPAM when TISCALI absorbed UKGATEWAY.NET and LINEONE.NET. I’ve set up new e-mails with other providers and avoid anything TISCALI-related. I think that a concerted effort to boycott ISPs that do nothing to discourage spamming, or businesses that benefit from advertisement spamming, will eventually render spamming a non-worthwhile activity.

  10. Why do I get emails clearly addressed to someone else? I’ve only had a real problem with SPAM since Tiscali took over Pipex. Outlook gives you the chance to “Block Sender”, but I’ve had the same SPAM from 12 addresses. I installed Spam Terrier, but no matter how I try to train the mutt, it still dumps authentic mail included in my address book, marks others as SPAM and lets really offensive SPAM through. I tried blacklisting words and phrases but they circumvent this by putting gaps in words.
    I am a female widowed pensioner, so are they off target with their mailshots. I certainly wasn’t happy to get a link to “teenage girls in explicit poses”.

  11. Demand that your ISP take a more agressive stance against spam. The software is out there to trace them. The ISP’s could block out offending servers forcing them to deal with their spamming clients. I’m still waiting for my lotto winnings to arrive:)

  12. Did you know Google considers Google to be a Spammer? Right now I have 3 email messages from Google Alerts that Gmail has flagged as spam and put into the spam mailbox!
    The spam filter on Gmail is worse than useless, because it flags so many legitimate messages as spam that it has to be checked for messages as often as the Inbox. And it cannot be turned off.

  13. Who have made of SPAM their business, they are the worst “sh*t” in Internet. Unfortunately, if ISP continues making very little or anything of effort to combat SPAM, the users will continue being those harmed. We will hardly be able to continue filtering SPAM… and making an effort in avoiding that some malware transforms our PC into a “zombie” that SPAM sends without we know it.

  14. Use MailWasher by FireTrust to filter and mail from various accounts before they are downloaded to Outlook. It also can “phseudo bounce” mail back to sender.
    Use Spamex.com to create email addresses that may be turned off or deleted when senders misuse them. The mail is forwarded to your real address.
    Use SmartWhoIs and Visualware to track senders’ locations–which lets you know who is allowing spamers.

  15. I wish there was some way to make the spammers pay. Unfortunately there are people who respond to the advertising and therefore make spamming a profitable medium. If everyone ignored spam and boycotted purchasing anything from a spam email, then the spam would decrease.

  16. I use a bounce program. Every spam email gets sent back ten times. It’s reduced my spam by at least 50% which is a real relief. The big problem now is bogus addresses. About 20% of my spam now comes from non-existent addresses. Why someone would think I’d even look at email from bogus accounts is beyond me. Build me something that sniffs these scummy, backside orifices out and I’ll pay big!

  17. MikeH
    I had a problem a few months ago with a spammer that spoofed my Email address. I was getting up to 150 mails a day from servers rejecting the mail I did not send as spam. I found a program called Email Tracker Pro from http://www.visualware.com which I would recommend. Using this I traced the original source to Korea on a server run by Korea Telecom which is government owned. THen I mailed the whole lot to thier Minister of Telecommunications. Spam stopped immediately!!
    I use this program regularly to forward complaints if I recieve spam. If we all did that, it would force the ISp’s to wake up!!

  18. AOL, Yahoo, Comcast, Cox and numerous others have added heavy handed filters. My mail to myself is blocked but I get the same ads addressed to someone else into my inbox. Most ISP are worthless and do not know how to eliminate spam. Most of them do not even look at your white list before blocking/deleting an inbound email you requested or are waiting to see. Many of them block an email just for having an unsubsribe link in it and let the junk through because it doesn’t. I believe there is an agenda to allow it to become so worthless that some ‘entity’ will save the day with a paid service…. Get a gmail account. I get 1000’s of emails daily and the majority are spam and end up in spam while my white list makes it into my inbox. Well run operation… perhaps they are the only operation with the ability to make it work anymore.

  19. I would gladly buy software that would trace these evil people and return their nasty e-mails to them. If a few million people worldwide did the same “spam” would be a thing of the past. Surely there is a “techy” out there who could produce such a program.

  20. I’m an IT Director at a small hospital with a mature domain name (12 years old). SPAM accounts for over 99% of all e-mail handled by my system – and that’s a calculation, NOT an estimate. I spend about $12,000 per year managing SPAM.

  21. The best spamguard is to change email addresses every year or so, if you have that luxury.

    I resent ISPs who block mail arbitrarily. Our ISP blocks two thirds of the mail from one wanted bulk mailer source, without providing an easy means of addressing the issue.

  22. I have gone so far as to chase down the owners of blocks of addresses and emailed them about spammers and the email was returned, ” contains spam” dddddUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHH

  23. It would be wonderful if somehow the Internet could figure out how to block access better for anyone who chooses to spam on a regular basis!

  24. Yahoo is my ISP. I don’t like their passive stance against spammers. Why not develop a more aggressive rejection tool for known spammers wherein email is outright rejected by the ISP as though the email address is recognized as an unknown/non-existent by Yahoo?

    Just my 2 cents

  25. I use incredimail which places all mail from unknown addresses in a separate folder where I bulk delete it.
    I’ve tried filters but found some wanted mail was kept out.
    Some spam (3-4 weekly) now comes through to my inbox as an approved sender.

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