February 24, 2005
Spam, Hot Spam, Now Only $0.10 Each!
By now, you may have seen news of the report from Ferris research citing the annual global economic impact of spam at $50 billion (apparently the U.S.’s share, $17 billion, is 0.17% of our gross national income).
I have no doubt that spam is an expensive problem. IT managers and sysadmins spend lots of time dealing with it, and much hardware, software, and bandwidth are consumed.
But the one number that strikes me as odd in the report is that the economic impact of not having a spam filter (i.e., manually filtering spam, more commonly known as hitting the delete key) is $718 per user per year. I guess it depends how you measure cost, but since the average user — not people who live on email like people who, oh, say, work at an email company or who blog compulsively — only get something like 20-30 emails per day, even if most of it were spam, that cost translates into something like $0.10 per spam. That’s a lot of economic cost associated with a push of the delete key.
Interestingly, the antidote to the $718/year problem is a good desktop filter product like Cloudmark’s SafetyBar, which costs something like $30/year.