Vendors blamed for exaggerating threat of spam


Anti-spam vendors have come under criticism for exaggerating the real threat that spam poses to users.

At the start of December, both Frontbridge and Email Systems released statistics claiming that November's spam had peaked at more than 90 percent of total emails sent, but industry analysts have questioned how useful such figures are.

"Reports focus on things like the raw number of emails because, let's face it, it makes for a great story," said Rob Rosenberger, an anti-virus expert. "Company X stopped 3.4561 quadrillion spams this month, which was 99.9993 percent of all emails received by their clients. Does it really matter?"

Both Frontbridge and Email Systems run daily figures on their websites that, at the time of writing showed spam at 70 and 83 percent respectively, but Rosenberger questions their relevance.

Frontbridge released a statement claiming that networks of compromised computers that send spam, or botnets, were on the rise. But this sort of declaration has been criticized as simply spin.

"As Einstein said: 'Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted'," added Rosenberger.

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