Spam is sucking life out of Email

EMail, the only real killer application on the Internet has a big problem: a spam problem. After a brief decline in the first eight months of last year, spam is back. The New York Times reports that the situation is getting worse by the minute.

Ironport, a spam filtering firm, and unsolicited junk mail now accounts for more than 9 of every 10 e-mail messages sent over the Internet.

According to Softscan, the percentage of email which counts as spam is 89.73%, which is close to the IronPort data.

Image spam used to just contain straight text on a white background, now increasingly spammers are trying to obfuscate scanners by introducing more complex images and colours. Text has also been disguised by changing its colour throughout the image and is frequently distorted

There are new kinds of spam, like the image spam which is making the rounds, and is causing problems. It is not the only kind, but it is the kind which has become a major issue for us here at GigaOM. These image spam emails continue to confound our email servers, and also our Apple Mail inbox, even though we have been patiently teaching it to behave like an over eager parent.

No dice! Some of us simply have set up elaborate rules where we route emails to our Google Mail account, and then route it back to our main email account. That helps, since Google has good spam filters, but in reality it is a band aid fix. (Please share your tips and tricks with rest of us, and help make our email lives better!)

Our personal spam trials and tribulations aside, the email spam is a massive productivity drain and I bet it is a big drain on the overall economy. What is more confounding is that the bad guys keep winning, and the technology industry, with all its brains has failed to outwit them. Back in 2003, Bill Gates had declared war on spam, but that hasn’t helped.

So what we really need to do is rethink the whole concept of email and its client-server underpinnings. We need a new kind of an email application, be it for the web or for the local machine.