Can E-Mail Be Saved from 'Spam'? (Familiar Problem, New Technology)

By Merline, John | Consumers' Research Magazine, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Can E-Mail Be Saved from 'Spam'? (Familiar Problem, New Technology)


Merline, John, Consumers' Research Magazine


Just about anyone who uses a computer these days knows that spam doesn't just refer to a brand of canned meat anymore. Once marketers realized they could cheaply and easily promote their products through e-mail messages, unsolicited junk e-mail--dubbed spare--started to explode. For those with e-mail accounts today, that means wading through and deleting piles of junk e-mail pitches for everything from low-interest mortgages to herbal supplements. Also spam soon may be coming in the form of text messages to a cell phone or pager near you. Both cell phones and pagers are being targeted by spammers, with unwanted junk mail accounting for almost 10% of the I billion text messages sent last December, according to a recent USA Today article. In Japan, junk mail on mobile phones is already a scourge, with some getting up to 30 spam messages a day, and paying for it, since cell phone companies typically charge for each text message received.

The avalanche of spam may be good for marketers who find it a cheap way to reach millions of potential customers. The only real cost to the marketer is the nominal one of gathering up e-mail addresses. Marketers can buy lists of about a million e-mail addresses for as little as $500.

Unlike regular mail, e-mail doesn't cost anything to send, beyond the monthly service fee for Internet access. And companies like Microsoft and Yahoo offer free e-mail accounts to anyone with access to the Web. So moderate e-mail users pay the same monthly rate as aggressive e-mail users.

But spam is becoming a decidedly costly annoyance to most e-mail users who receive it. And if recent trends continue, it will become an unbearable problem within a few years, if not months. Just since 2001, spam e-mail messages have grown from 7% of all e-mail sent to an estimated 51%, according to Brightmail, which tracks this trend. To get an idea of how massive the spamming industry has become, consider that America Online, the most popular online service provider, blocked an astonishing 2.4 billion pieces of spam in a single day.

Spam's Cost

Not surprisingly, consumers are getting increasingly agitated about spam. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll taken in April found that two-thirds said they get "a lot" of spam. That compares with 37% who said so three years ago. Consumers pay more in terms of time and frustration spent deleting unwanted e-mail. But they also pay in dollar terms. Spam now costs American businesses $10 billion a year--costs that eventually get translated into higher product prices. Consumers also pay about $2 a month in higher bills for Internet service. Because spam is eating up so much of the Internet traffic capacity, ISPs are forced to increase their capacity to transmit and receive data so they can handle the flood of junk e-mail without adversely affecting their customers' Internet needs.

There are other costs to consumers. Much of the spam consumers receive is deceptive. According to the Federal Trade Commission, two-thirds of the spam messages it examined in a recent sampling contained false information. The false information ranged from phony return addresses to misleading subject lines to false claims in the text of the message. Spam may contain computer viruses, which can render all or parts of a computer unworkable when unleashed. And spam can be used to gather information surreptitiously about the recipient.

Spam is also making it harder for legitimate businesses to reach their own customers, who in slogging through their daily spam pile are more likely to delete any commercial e-mail messages, even those from firms with which they have a business relationship. Worse, e-mail itself as a communication tool is being harmed. Imagine if every time you picked up the phone to make a call you first had to listen and delete dozens of commercial messages. Consumers would likely grow increasingly reluctant to use their phones at all.

Finding Solutions

While the size and scope of the spam problem is obvious, workable solutions are much harder to come by. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Can E-Mail Be Saved from 'Spam'? (Familiar Problem, New Technology)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.