half a trillion spams

During calendar 2003, AOL blocked nearly 500 billion spam messages from reaching user inboxes, an average of 40 fewer such messages per day per subscriber account. The company said it regularly blocks 75 percent to 80 percent of incoming mail as spam.

7 Responses:

  1. Due to their overly strict denial policy, they block mail that originates from my personal SMTP server that runs off of my residential DSL IP address. (yes, I know how I can fix it, but I don't have enough AOL-equipped friends to care -- just pointing out that those stats might be somewhat exaggerated, but not by much, I'll warrant)

    • jwz says:

      It's extremely common (and moderately effective) to block all mail from "known dialup" IP blocks. My ISP does, and I'm glad.

  2. I'm not particularly eager to discount their numbers, but apparently it's really easy to end up on the AOL email shit list. I'm not interested enough to create an AOL account and try it for myself, but I've read:

    I was trying to tell a friend about http://www.BushIn30Seconds.org,
    a site airing commercials summarizing what the filmmakers think is
    wrong with current administration policies. My message to my friend at
    AOL bounced with the message:

    (reason: 554
    TRANSACTION FAILED:  (HVU:B1) The URL contained in your email to
    AOL members has generated a high volume of complaints.??)

    So they've probably got some sort of automated blocking system that anyone can dump URLs into. Though false-positives like this one may just disappear in the noise when you're working with numbers as big as 500 billion; filtering by URL is probably pretty effective in the non-conspiracy-theory case.

    • 21cdb says:

      I work in e-commerce hosting. People routinely:
      1. Buy stuff
      2. Get the email receipt
      3. Report us (our customers, the hosted store, really) to AOL for spamming them, with the receipt as the "proof"

  3. legolas says:

    That is an unbelievable amount! The good thing is: if the spam doesn't reach anyone anymore, it'll soon become non-profitable to send it (ok, we can hope no?).

    • curgoth says:

      for it to become non-profitable, the cost would have to exceed the amount bamboozled from a single accepting target. It's been a while since I checked out how much money spammers were asking for for herbal viagra, but I suspect that one idiot buying some will cover thier DSL/cable costs for a month.

  4. macguyver says:

    For example, all comment notifications from LiveJournal -- only blocked since they started running their own blog service.