Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, November 26, 2005
# 10:22:00 PM:

Is 480 spam emails per day a good sign?

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Back in 2002 I found 59 spam emails in three days (a mere 20 per day) dismaying. Earlier this year, in April, I had four separate levels of spam filtering (email forwarder, ISP, spam program, and email client), to handle the 900 spam messages I was getting daily.

After recently ditching Telus as my ISP, and deciding at the time to use Gmail as my primary email interface, I thought I'd try turning off all my spam protection except for the one Gmail provides. That was a frightening concept: I've had the same email address since 1996, so it's on every spam list imaginable.

Gmail's spam filter is pretty darn good. It still lets through a couple of spam messages to my Inbox each day, but get this: in the five days between November 21 and 26, it caught almost 2500 pieces of spam, averaging 20 every hour, or one every three minutes. If I let it go on all year, that would be in excess of 175,000 spam emails I'd have to deal with. Oddly, most of them are in Korean characters, with much of the rest in Cyrillic.

On the other hand, 480 a day is still a mysterious 47% reduction in overall spam per day since April!

By the way, does anyone know how to delete more than a single page of 100 spam messages at a time in Gmail?


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