Jan 25 2006

Spam is Dead. Long Live Spam!

Spam is Dead.  Long Live Spam!

As pointed out in The Register yesterday (and picked up by Whit in his feed), it’s now been exactly two years since Bill Gates declared that Microsoft would eliminate spam in two years.

Hmmm.  Let’s think about that.  Filters do keep getting better, which Gates predicted.  But challenge/response filtering seems to be dead in the water, and the notion that we’re all going to pay for email stamps seems to be toast as well.

So where are we?  Spam is certainly more of a nuisance than a true crisis these days, which is even more true than when I wrote about here 15 months ago.  But it still consumes massive amounts of time, bandwidth, computing power, and mental energy to deal with the problem and reduce its visible impact on end users.  And even then, the problems of too much spam and too many false positives (emails which aren’t spam that get filtered by mistake) are still very real.  Bottom line — it’s still a business problem with a real, growing market and sub-markets and after-markets for solutions.

With apologies to my many friends and business partners at Microsoft, maybe as is the case with the occasional piece of software, Gates needs to release version 3.0 of his comment before it sticks.