I remember reading a couple of months ago about a major spam ring, responsible for about a third of all spam online, having been shut down.
At the time, I was interested in it because of the volume of spam these guys sent out. In my head it was one third of all of it. As I looked back at the article, it appears that it probably wasn’t that much, but was close.
The reason I’m writing this today is that I have seen a huge, and I mean huge, decrease in spam.
I use Gmail for all of my personal email. All of it goes to one place. So I am on the exact same account all the time, and I also like to watch the counter for how much spam I have sitting there.
One of Gmail’s best features is that it catches spam. Until very recently, I have never had a problem with that. The bad mail goes into the spam folder, the good mail goes to my inbox. I recently had a good message go to the spam folder, but it has only happened once. I have my account set up to delete spam when it is 30 days old. What that means is that I have a rolling count of spam messages sitting there being unread n the spam folder, and I can see if I’m getting a lot more recently or a lot less
I typically have about 1,200 to 1,600 messages in that spam folder. Every couple of days or so, I go through it and look back a week to figure out if anything accidentally got in there. On occasion I’ll see a mass mailed newsletter or something that I opted in for, but basically I never see real email in the spam folder.
Since the bust a couple of months ago, I have watched my spam folder go from 1,300 messages to 433 today. That’s a pretty dramatic decrease.
I don’t think spam was really a huge factor for me in the past, simply because using Gmail more or less eliminated it from my daily routine. But to see this kind of decrease in a relatively short period of time suggests that the shutdown of these rings can have a significant impact on the amount of spam clogging up inboxes of people not fortunate enough to be able to use a real spam killer like I do.
Admittedly, I only began to think of the decrease I saw because I remembered the story about the bust, so this is certainly a process where I’ve built my idea around a pretty limited set of circumstances. Do any of you think this bust had to do with this? Are there other factors I’ve missed here?
Ryan Jerz is an all-around good guy who shoots photos and video, builds websites, and works in athletics at the University of Nevada, where he handles the department's digital presence, including online and in stadiums and arenas. Ryan is also a digital production instructor at Nevada's Reynolds School of Journalism.