Will email survive the spam siege?


James reports the statistics for UW email in September:

Sadly, 90.6% of the 137,001,383 messages we processed last month were classified as spam.

Another interesting item: sometime during the afternoon of the 10/7 we processed our billionth (yes, with a B) message for the year. That’s more than we processed through all of 2003, 2004, and 2005 combined.

…we’re now routinely seeing over 6 million messages a day and set a new percentage record on 10/14 with 96.8% of 5.8M processed that day being spam.

One has to wonder how we can (or why we should) continue to invest in providing robust technology infrastructure to provide a service that overwhelmingly serves to transport messages we don’t (or would prefer not to) deliver.

While the recently released ECAR Research Study on Undergraduate Students and Information Technology holds that an overwhelming percentage of undergraduate students prefer to receive communication from their college or university via a university provided email account, a 2005 Pew study on Teens and Technology found that

The presence of email in teens’ lives has persisted, and the number that uses email
continues to surpass those who use IM. However, when asked about which modes of
communication they use most often when communicating with friends, online teens
consistently choose IM over email in a wide array of contexts.

and the ECAR study also found that 69.3% of 18-19 year-olds surveyed use social networking sites like Facebook daily.

Of course the Pew study also found that Teens who participated in focus groups for this study said that they view email as something you use to talk to “old people,” institutions, or to send complex instructions to
large groups.
, and ECAR found that 85.1% of students had email as the first choice for campus communication.

My guess is that may change over time as people get more and more used to communicating via methods other than email. I know that in my life I find that what was once exclusively communication via email is now shared more and more with IM and Facebook and Twitter and the like.

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One thought on “Will email survive the spam siege?”

  1. My company processed 12.3 million inbound messages last month (that’s for a company of 6,000). Only 6.88% – 851,000 – reached end users. 64% were from blacklisted domains, 8% were misaddressed (usually intentionally to fish for addresses), 21% were spam, and a negligible number were viruses.

    Indeed, email seems to be going the way of Usenet.


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