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What's the Problem With Spam?

So, how much spam is out there, anyway?

Estimates vary, but range from 78% to 92% of all email sent! In 2007, it was estimated that the cost of spam to businesses was $100 billion. That's billion with a B! By 2013 is was estimated that that figure could be as high as $300 billion. How much is your business losing in productivity due to spam?

One estimate put the number of spams today at about 7 trillion. That's trillion with a T. Most estimates, however, put the number of spams in the hundreds of billions per day. It's so much spam that good email is actually being crowded out by bad email, causing delays which cost businesses money.

A Microsoft security report claimed that more than 97% of emails sent are unwanted, i.e. spam.

The question is: how much spam is too much?

Well, I used to get well over 200 spam emails a day. I wasted a lot of time going through it all, too. Sometimes I didn't get to it for a few days, then when I had time, I discovered I had a thousand or more spams to go through.

A physician friend of mine told me that he got over 500 spams a day because he'd had his email address for such a long time. I set him up with a Czar Mail account, and now Czar Mail servers handle the email for his domain, eliminating all his spam. Not only that, because he kept his original email addresses, people he exchanges emails with didn't have to be notified of a change because the switch was transparent.

Anyone would argue that this much spam is too much.

Three or four spams a day isn't so bad we tell ourselves, but soon it's 30 or 40 spams a day, an eventually, it's 300 or 400 spams a day!

And beyond the simple count of the spams is the fact that many of them contain malware. If you or an employee accidentally click on one of those spams, your computer would be compromised and expose you to data loss, identity theft, corrupted software, Trojan Horses, worms, viruses, key loggers, spam bots, and a whole host of evil outcomes.

Spam's not only a nuisance, but it's dangerous, too.

Key loggers can record keystrokes typed into your machine and send them back to the criminal who produced the malware. Soon, he has logins and passwords to everything you use on your computer. Many people have had their bank accounts wiped out, only to discover later that their computer was infected. Once the money's gone from your account, it's hard to get it back.

What is Phishing?

Some fraudsters try to scam users into entering personal information on fake Web sites using emails forged to look like they are from banks or other organizations, such as PayPal. This is known as phishing. Once a user enters his information, and before he realizes what he's done, the account will be cleaned out by offshore criminals, and once it's gone, it's usually gone for good.

And phishing is on the rise. Why? Because it works!

Why do you get blank emails sometimes?

What? Are some spammers so incompetent they can't even send out a spam email correctly? Maybe, but more likely, they use blank emails to cull email lists. If you get a blank email, they know your email is valid, then the flood of spam increases as your email is resold to other spammers.

In some cases, blank emails can contain viruses. An example of this is the VBS.Davinia.B email worm which propagates through messages that have no subject line and appears blank, when in fact it uses HTML code to download other files.

But I thought spam was illegal!

Other countried have all passed "No Spam" acts, but in 2003, the Republicans passed a "Can Spam" act, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. So in the US, spam is legally permissible provided it follows certain criteria: a "truthful" subject line, no forged information in the technical headers or sender address, and other minor requirements. If the spam fails to comply with any of these requirements it's dubbed illegal. Aggravated or accelerated penalties apply in certain circumstances.

Do you have any guesses as to how many spammers are sending "truthful" spam? My guess would be the same as yours: none. And spammers all claim that you "opted into" to the list they use. They say they're the "partners" some web sites refer to in their disclosure agreements. Of course, it won't surprise you that that's a lie.

So why don't law enforcement agencies arrest them?

A review of the effectiveness of CAN-SPAM in 2005 by the Federal Trade Commission (the agency charged with CAN-SPAM enforcement) claimed that the amount of sexually explicit spam had significantly decreased since 2003 and the total volume had begun to level off. Senator Conrad Burns, a principal sponsor, noted that "Enforcement is key regarding the CAN-SPAM legislation." Then he broke his arm patting himself on the back.

Of couse you and I don't believe that. In 2004, less than 1% of spam complied with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. But what did you expect, really?

And what about the countries that have "No Spam" laws? They get boatloads of spam, too, because a large amount of the spam sent out originates in the US where the spammers are winning the battle waged against them.

What are "bots"?

Bots (short for robots) are computers that have been taken over by malware (usually delivered in an email). Once a computer is infected, the worm sends the computer's address back to the person controlling it, and once that's done, the spammer can simply upload spams, and the user's computer will send them out as if they had been sent by the user himself.

Users then get back a flood of emails complaining about the spam, and eventually, the user's ISP will terminate his account. It can be so hard to get back on the ISP's server, the user may have to abandon his email address and start over with a new one.

In a paper by Kanich,, entitled Spamalytics, the authors stated that "after 26 days, and almost 350 million e-mail messages, only 28 sales resulted." So why do spammers persist?

It's because the spam costs only 10¢ per 10,000 spams, that's why. It's so cheap, the spammers can send millions of emails just to get a few responses. What does it cost the public? About 10¢ each.

Well, it doesn't cost me anything. (You think?)

Oh, yes it does! Those billions of emails going out clog servers and force Internet providers to have to upgrade their facilities. Who do you think ultimately pays the cost? If you said, "the consumer," you'd be right. The cost of spam is billions of dollars each year, and you pay for it somewhere down the line. And businesses lose billions of dollars in lost productivity, theft, and computer repairs.


Czar Mail can shut off that flow of spam to your email account, and we're so confident in that statement, that we guarantee it with our "If you think it's spam, we'll pay you for it." guarantee. Who decides what's spam and what's not? You do. Just go to your messages, pick out the one you think is spam, and click the Spam button. It's that easy.