Blogger: Bill Pray
Gary Thuerk is probably not a name that dwells somewhere in the corner of your mind as someone you should remember or know for most of us. Gary has the ignoble distinction of the first person to ever send e-mail spam. He sent it in May 1978 as an advertisement for a sales event while working for DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation – an early pioneer in e-mail technology – remember them?). Before you vilify Gary, I am willing to bet that he did not anticipate what he was unleashing and what it would grow into. He was simply being innovative. And let's face it, if Gary hadn't of done it, someone else would have.
- Early indicators are that legal enforcement is slowing to possibly leveling the growth of spam. It is clear that major enforcement wins cause a significant decline in spam for a short period of time. It will be interesting to see if continued enforcement happens and if it will force an overall decline.
- It is amazing that a conversion rate of 0.000008% makes it worth the effort for the spammers. I am not sure I buy into the extrapolation in the graphic which indicates an estimated $3.5M in pharmaceutical sales resulted from spam in 2008. But, I guess when you are dealing millions and millions of messages, there is profit in the effort.
- User education may have hit its limits. With only .1% of the users actually clicking on the link in the e-mail, it is doubtful that a more intensive education effort could reduce that percentage significantly.
- The anti-spam technologies still have room for improvement. While most enterprises report anti-spam blocking rates in the 90th percentile, every tenth of percent of improvement counts.