AOL Users See Sharp Decrease in Spam

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ISP giant America Online (AOL) has announced that their users have seen a dramatic decrease in spam over the course of the past year.

According to AOL, spam messages reported by members for this past month, November 2004, numbered about 2.2 million per day, and that’s down from 11 million a year ago. In addition, the amount of spam being shunted to the spam folders every day numbered about 100 million per day a year ago, and is down a full 60%, to 40 million per day.

Now, granted, 40 million pieces of spam per day to a single ISP, even if it is one of the largest ISPs in the known universe, is still a whole ship load of spam. But still, during a time when spam is ever on the rise, even a leveling off or a slight decline is note-worthy.


A decrease of 60% is cause for a full-page announcement in the WSJ (word up to AOL PR).

To what can we credit this dramatic decrease in dastardly dispatches?

Well, perhaps a slight, but only a very slight, percentage of the decline in user reports can be attributed to the novelty of the reporting system wearing off for AOL users, or even a sense of ennui leading to less clicking.


But that would only account for the merest fraction of a percentage, and would have no impact on the sharp contrast between last year’s spam to the spam folder and this years’.

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AOL Users See Sharp Decrease in Spam

AOL has been very visible this year taking lots of bold and commendable measures to protect their users’ inboxes from spam. And while many of these measures have been technical in nature, several others have been in the legal arena.

Note, for example, their several lawsuits against high-profile, prolific spammers such as their highly successful lawsuit against notorious spammer Jeremy Jaynes.

Indeed, some credit this one law suit with being directly responsible for a large part of the reduction in spam to AOL, as Jaynes was spewing more than 10 million pieces of email a day through hissixteen high speed Internet access lines. And much of it was directed at AOL (hence the lawsuit).

If even just 10% of Jaynes’ email was directed at AOL, that’s 1 million pieces of spam a day no longer hitting AOL.

In addition, it’s not impossible that the successful action against Jaynes, along with AOL’s successful lawsuits against other high-profile spammers (and along with similar lawsuits by MSN, Yahoo, and Earthlink) have started to take some of the fun out of spamming. Or, at least, has given spammers cause to pause, and think of new fun, and safer, ways to spread their spew.

In any case, the numbers don’t lie, and AOL users got a happy holiday treat from AOL this year.

Good on ya, AOL!

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AOL Users See Sharp Decrease in Spam

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3 Replies to “AOL Users See Sharp Decrease in Spam”

  1. It’s not just AOL. My company uses Spameater to scour the junk email from 5 email accounts. Some of which have email addresses published on our web site, and are therefore ripe targets for address harvesting spiders. These accounts suddenly went from around 600-800 spams/day to about 200/day. It seemed to happen about the same time the legal pressure got turned up. I don’t know if that’s what did it, but I’m happy to see the reduction. (I have to look through the eaten messages to find non-spam that might have gotten accidentally eaten by the program.)

  2. Ping to “Today’s AOL press release about spam volumes makes surprising reading… It’s a complicated area and we can’t help but to presume that someone at AOL has been confused by statistics.”

  3. Of course, the big question is how many of those ‘spams’ are actual legitimate messages. I’ve heard a few stories of someone having a message blocked by AOL as spam because it just happened to contain a URL with a particular (common) domain name in it.

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