Did a recent spam ring shutdown drastically decrease spam?

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Friday December 12, 2008.

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.

gmail spamSince 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 JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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