Jul 16 2007

You’ve got to appreciate truth in advertising

I use Gmail as my central email repository and usually the spam filters they use are pretty good.  But lately they’ve been a little overly aggressive, so I have to comb through to make sure no legitimate email is being caught accidentally.  There’s not a lot that’s misidentified, but there’s enough to make it worth the few minutes a day it takes to double-check the spam folder.

I’ve been amazed at some of the subject lines I see, as well as what I see in the preview of the email.  There’s no way I’m going to click on any of them to find out what else is in the spam, because it’s just not worth the risk.  But I do have to say that my favorite subject line so far is “Thanks for contributing to our financial success”.  It’s honest and straight forward even if it is just an attempt to rip off people around the globe.

On a side note, I used to clean out my spam folder every couple of days, but in March I started letting them accumulate and get deleted automatically when they’ve aged 30 days.  It’s been interesting watching the number of spams spike and drop.  At one point I had gathered nearly 9000 spams in a 30 day period, which works out to an average of 300 spams a day.   Personally, that means about 60% of my email is spam, a far lower percentage of spam than most people see.  I guess being subscribed to ten or so mailing lists had to have some benefit.

Mine is just a single data point, compared to the millions some anti-spam vendors get to see.  But I like having a personal high water mark to compare to what the vendors are reporting. I’m not a spam expert, so it’s interesting to see new spam subjects that companies like  F-secure report.  Anyone else out there keep track of the spam they receive for fun?

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “You’ve got to appreciate truth in advertising”

  1. Peteron 16 Jul 2007 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for pointing that out. I checked my Gmail spam folder and found a few false positives. The last time I checked it wasn’t flagging any legit messages, so I stopped checking.
    I get about 700 spams over the 30 days. I also was deleting them on a regular basis and then I thought, why am I doing this, Google will delete them for me.
    I would say 20+ spams a day is probably about 60-70% spam.
    When I first started using Gmail it was probably in the single digits. I give my real gmail address out to almost no one, but the spam started picking up. I assume they are sending to every possible combination@gmail.com.

  2. Wade Mon 16 Jul 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve been tracking my spam with gmail since I first got it back in 2004.

    Back then it was around 12,000/month. It’s slowly grown to 22,824/month (as of today).

    Peaks and troughs see it sitting around 28-30k during the peaks, and troughs of around 17-19k.

    It would be interesting to setup a few honeypot e-mail address, to attract spam, then develop some central metrics to analyze the global spam situation…


  3. kurt wismeron 17 Jul 2007 at 7:28 am

    wow guys, those are some incredible numbers… i don’t know what you’re doing but my gmail address (which i’ve also had since 2004) is still spam free – even the spam ‘folder’ remains empty…

    they’re definitely NOT trying every combination of gmail address…

  4. Martin McKeayon 17 Jul 2007 at 10:45 am

    I have multiple email addresses that I’ve posted on the web over time, such as contact information on blog and on the Computerworld site. So it comes as no surprise to me that I’m getting so much spam. One thing I haven’t done yet is analyze the emails to discover which of the addresses is getting the most spam. Since that’d takes real work, don’t expect me to try any time real soon.

  5. Dave Don 31 Jul 2008 at 7:18 am

    I have the same problem with my gmail I have to religiously check my junk mail to ensure I’m not losing anything

  6. Aaron Guhlon 05 Aug 2008 at 7:28 am

    I have never really had any issues with spam to my email address. About a month ago I switch mail hosting providers, but have kept the same email address. Since then I have been getting riddled with spam. Just goes to show that a lot of spammers don’t really target email addresses, but rather mail servers and domains all together. They provide Spam Assassin that I’ve turned on and that has helped a little bit.

  7. Gary Baribaulton 14 Apr 2010 at 9:41 am

    It helps to have your own mail server. I use Postix/SpamHaus/SpamAssasin/SQLGrey as protection. SpamHaus is a real champ, as of 13:30 today it has rejected 510 SPAM, and yes I do check every now and again, so far it’s 100%. SQLGrey blocked 48 SPAM that SpamHaus let thru, and I have so far today probably deleted 45 spam that Thunderbird placed gently in the SPAM folder. I may have found one or two SPAM that Thunderbird misdirected in the last month or two, but maybe not that many.

    I have had the same 3 EMails since 1997 when I registered my family name as my domains and am on about 20 – 25 mailing lists. Every now and again SPAM suppliers adjust their tactics and I have to go back and adjust my filtering on my server. About 9 months ago I was up to 450 or so spams per day, and after adjustments, that dropped to 3 or 4. As I said I’m back up to about 100 – 125 per day and will have to go back in a month or two and adjust again.

    I offer EMail services to about 30 – 40 people and they have about the same results.

    As far as I’m concerned, Google has enough information about me without my giving the all of my EMail to scan as well, I’m not saying their Evil, just that I’m paranoid. Being a security guy, that’s normal, the only real question being if I’m paranoid enough!

    Gary B

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