Are we winning the war on spam?

oreillyradarlogo.jpgDale Dougherty over on O’Reilly Radar attempts to answer that question and reports on their efforts to combat spam.

In a given week, 94% of the 904,060 all messages sent to O’Reilly servers are rejected because:

  1. the IP has been blacklisted
  2. the message had a SpamAssassin score of 10 or higher
  3. the message contained viruses or malware
  4. the message failed some other anti-spam technique

(And that doesn’t even account for messages the recipients didn’t actually want.)

Dale interviewed a number of industry luminaries on whether or not “we” are winning the war on spam. Here are a few quotes:

Eric Allman – developer of sendmail, a prominent email protocol

It depends on how you define “win”. I still get junk phone calls, but the phone system is reasonably usable today. I think that spam can get to that level.

Brad Templeton – Chairman of the Board, Electronic Frontier Foundation

I wouldn’t say that. There are a number of fairly decently working filtering systems, though a number of them have concerns about false positives. This doesn’t rely on draconian blacklists, though some people use them.

Danny Goodman – prolific tech writer and programmer

“It’s a lot like the war on terrorism. The hardest part is defining what the war is. The offenders are not clearly defined, the war is not clearly defined.” He said the war seems like “a constant game of whack-a-mole.”

If you are interested in the war on spam, this article is a great overview.

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