Arjan's World: Spam Rises To Extreme Levels: End Of Email Near?
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Friday, February 04, 2005

Spam Rises To Extreme Levels: End Of Email Near?

Recently a New trojan infecting massive numbers of home users PC's, turning them into zombies has been discovered, according to the Spamhaus organisation. This network is supposed to order ISP's email servers te send their bunch of litter into the world. This way, email seems to originate from ISPs of significant size, making it infeasible to put IP-filters in use as a way of blocking them. The article even speaks about the decline and fall of email as we know it. Personally I don't think it will go that fast. The spamwar is a continuous fighting between spammers and organisations like spamhaus, ISP's, and copanies implementing better spamfilters. I must say, the filter we use at work (GFI's Mail Essentials works quite satisfactory. Every now and then an abvious spammessage gets through, but overall I guess about 97-98 % of spam is blocked.

On the other side, of course, we all know of the new systems that are coming of age (RSS/feeds, IM, Skype etc.) that could have their share of the email market. While it will not be the end of email itself, I think what spam does hamper considerably are the oldfashioned emaillists. I see lots of these listmessages getting stuck in our spamfilter. Maybe it's because of the software, but in my opinion spamfilters will always have a hard time telling newletters from spam, especially now that spam is getting smarter and smarter (recently I had to forward a message that got stuck in our spamfilter, which I really couldn't categorise as either spam of legitimate).

Conclusion: Email will not cease to exist in the next few years, but there is a bright future for RSS and the rest. You alreaydy see lots of mainstream companies embracing it - not as a replacement for email, but as an alternative e.g. for their newsletters. At least with RSS you'll be guaranteed that you receive new messages posted to the list, something you can not say from newsletters sent to your mailaccount.

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