Study calculates productivity loss from spam

— 4:14 AM on June 9, 2004

We all know that spam is a huge annoyance, but how much does it really cost? For enterprise operations, about $2,000 in lost productivity per person over the course of a year according to this article over at eWeek. That's not the worst of it, though. Spam volume is rapidly increasing, which could lead to even higher costs down the road:

The latest figure is based on a May survey of 82 Fortune 500 companies, in which enterprise users reported receiving twice as many unsolicited messages as they had 10 months earlier, for an average of 29 a day, according to Wellesley, Mass.-based Nucleus.

Meanwhile, the latest monthly spam figures released Tuesday by e-mail security provider MessageLabs Ltd. show spam volumes reaching new heights. In May, 76 percent of inbound e-mails scanned by MessageLabs were spam, up from 67 percent a month earlier.

CAN-SPAM certainly isn't working, and it appears that email filters aren't doing that well either. According to the Nucleus study, the effectiveness of spam filters is decreasing because spam volume is increasing and companies are reluctant to use the most aggressive forms of filtering.

Microsoft and Yahoo have both unveiled promising authentication schemes that could put a huge dent in unsolicited email, but they're a long way from widespread implementation. At least we have V1codi+n, XAN/a/x, and |V|alium to help us through the pain.

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