New figures published by Brightmail show that the scourge of spam continues to grow, despite legislation aimed at stopping it.
The company said that in February unsolicited commercial email accounted for 62 per cent of all email on the internet.
The biggest category (24 per cent) relates to products, followed by financial offers (18 per cent), adult (14 per cent) and scams such as phishing and easy-money schemes from Nigeria (11 per cent).
Spam is measured by Brightmail's Probe Network and validated by Brightmail Logistics Operations Centres (BLOC) in San Francisco and Dublin.
Two years ago, only 7 per cent of email was spam, the company said.
Ken Schneider, the company's chief technology officer, said the spam problem would continue to grow in the short term, but that a combination of legal sanction and better filtering would eventually bring it under control.
"As filtering improves, the spammers need to keep increasing the number of messages they send to get the response they want," he said. "And that eventually becomes uneconomic for them."
He also cited new email authentication proposals, such as Microsoft's CallerID, as "yet another piece in the puzzle" in making it harder for the spammers to operate.
"It's a problem that will come under control in the next couple of years," he said.
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