GATES ON SPAM

Bill Gates gets it too:

Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so irritating.

Heh.

But spam is worse than irritating. It is a drain on business productivity, an increasingly costly waste of time and resources that clogs corporate networks and distracts workers. Among consumers, it spreads scams, pornography and even computer viruses. Worse, spammers prey on less sophisticated e-mail users, including children, threatening their safety and privacy. And as everyone struggles to sift spam from their inboxes, valid messages are sometimes overlooked or deleted, which makes e-mail less useful and reliable as a channel for communication and legitimate e-commerce. In short, spam threatens to undo much of the good that e-mail has achieved.

Yep.

He notes that Hotmail and MSN block 2.4 billion spam messages a day, which is amusing since Hotmail accounts are famous for getting overloaded with it within a few months of setup. He also says he’s working with numerous industry leaders to devise technological solutions to make it harder for spammers to operate. I applaud the effort but, alas, think it’s likely futile.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Cricket says:

    That is why I have a yahoo account. In over two years I have gotten spam that they have deleted and they are far better at it that hotmail.

  2. Paul says:

    Ya know what I wonder– Orrin Hatch got raked over the coals for suggesting that file trades should have their computers destroyed.

    But I wonder what people would have said if he sugdested spammers got that treatment.

    Me thinks the reply would have been different.

    Random thought

    Paul

  3. Paul says:

    –and if he SUGGESTED it rather than having had “sugdested” the reply might have been even more positive.

    sorry.

  4. BigFire says:

    Hotmail? I have an account at hotmail.com that I do not use. I never give it out to anyone. I never mail to anyone. I basically just keep it to track how well Hotmail is doing its supposed job. Mind you, I opted the account not to be listed at any mail directory list, and it’s still getting spammed like no tomorrow.

  5. James Joyner says:

    I think Hotmail is mainly the victim of computer-generated mass mailings. Basically, almost any alphabetic combo @hotmail.com gets a ton of spam. Yahoo does indeed manage to do a better job, although the last few months it’s been a royal pain in the butt to log in to my Yahoo accounts (I invariably have to log in, log out, and then log in again to access.) I have pretty much given up on those accounts as anything but a necessity to register for certain services.

  6. harm d. says:

    both hotmail & yahoo have been getting a lot better at this. hotmail now blocks html messages that automatically log you into a an account through an embedded link to verify that a) the email address is valid & yes, somebody is reading it. yahoo has the “report this domain as spam” option, which is immensely helpful.

    i’m very, very wary of people who want to legislate on the matter (let me try to put it another way: i think they’re complete idiots) but do believe that technology will indeed end up policing itself. either that, or we’ll have a lot of incompetent people who don’t know how to deal w/ spam quitting this internet business.

    win/win situation.

  7. Bryan says:

    I wonder if Bill Gates gets those e-mails that tell you he’s offering $1000 to everyone?

    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/billgate.htm#billgate

  8. cj says:

    Ok, I’m starting to feel very left out. Yeah, I got lotsa spam on my hotmail account. Since I moved to yahoo? nuthin. nada. (okay, may 6 spam in the last 6 months).

    What am I, the only spamless person in the universe? Don’t I need penis extenders? (yeah, I’m female, but that’s beside the point). Am I not interested in investing in the poor, besotted Nigerians? Refinancing? Lay it on me, baby.

    Affirmative action for the spamless!!