Pass the Olives

Jumbled Opinions on Living, Democracy, and Making Things

Spam Watch: Average Spam Messages Per Day

SpamSieve LogoIf you are a writer who is out there on the web, you are a target for spam. Even if you are not out there, you are a target for spam. But as a writer who also communicates frequently by email, shops online, and posts in dozens of places, I’m out there. And spam is the result. You need SpamSieve.
In spite of my best efforts, I receive hundreds and even thousands of spam messages every month. Sometimes 16 identical messages to the same email address. I don’t know who pays for all these messages but it is a humongous waste of money — and cyberspace. I never read any of them.
I download email to my computer using Apple Mail and run it through SpamSieve to automatically divert spam messages to a designated folder. From time to time I browse through the folder to be sure nothing has  gotten there in error. If I find something I do want to see, I tell SpamSieve to train it as good but this rarely happens. Errors happen because a friend has used a trigger word, or several. Or are themselves forwarding a particularly funny spam message.
I used to actually click-through to unsubscribe from any emails that contained an unsubscribe option. Sometimes it worked, but most often only until the next month. Unsubscribe links often go nowhere or just tie up my browser with pages that eventually load but are “Busy now. Please try later.” Or don’t even exist. Once an address is in the system, marketers must add it to all their client lists—past, present, future, and potential — and 2-3 days a month I receive 4-5 new ones that SpamSieve hasn’t yet identified. I would have to unsubscribe to all these messages each month to even possibly, a very big “possibly” here, eliminate spam from even “legitimate” marketers. And then there is China. I think it’s China. I don’t read ideograms.
My next best option is to log the numbers, which are easily available from my spam folder. Maybe these numbers will be more useful than the messages.

Daily Spam Average

(I rush to calculate the averages because new ones come in every 10 minutes. Totals and the averages don’t always match. Six have arrived since I started writing this sentence.)
125 — 13-16 December 2012. 4 days. Total: 499
209 — 17-18 December 2012. 2 days. Total: 418
65 — 19 December 2012 – 4 January 2013. 16 days. Total: 1049. Someone must have taken a vacation.
68 — 5 January 2013-15 February 2012. 41 days. Total: 2781.
I’m resisting the urge to stop clicking the unsubscribe links that take a lot of time to load and often don’t work.  I can save time by training SpamSieve to treat a message as spam and send off the next one before I even see it. The figures would look even more atrocious. The numbers, however, are significantly lower than in December. December was definitely Spam Month.  An average of 68 spam messages a day is only ~ 3 messages an hour.
65 — 16 February – 12 March. 24 Days. Total  1,561. Settling down to a pattern.
77 — 13 March – 29 April. 46 Days. Total 3,522.
82 — 30 April – 28 June. Total: 4611
Along time between counts — I used a date calculator so I know the number of days is accurate. I don’t make this stuff up. For two hours in August, I made a special effort to unsubscribe to as many as I could. Still there is this much spam out there and I read none of it. It just clogs the system.
58 —29 June − 13 October 2013. 115 days. Total: 6637.
This 58 spam messages every day. And those are just the ones that make it passed my ISP. As the holidays come closer the numbers will be even higher.
76 —14 October – 18 November 2013. 36 Days. Total: 2756.
Christmas is coming. Numbers are up!
Spam in a CanI wonder if Spam in a can would be less environmentally toxic? At least with ads in magazines and newspaper the ads support actual content. And ratios of ad words to content words there are very different.

Originally published 16 Dec 2012

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