America Online may not be winning the war against spam, but it they may at least be making a run at it. AOL is claiming a dramatic decline in spam volume for the first time in 5 years.
America Online is one of the biggest spam targets worldwide. One the worst day in 2003, AOL blocked 2.4 billion spam emails. This November the average was 40 million spam messages blocked a day, down 60% from November last year. This drop has led to a 22% drop in AOLs overall email volume.
Carl Hutzler, director of AOL Antispam Operations, claims that the decline signifies “many spammers are raising the white flag of surrender for the first time since 1999.”
Spam reports from AOL members coming from a ‘Report Spam’ button have dropped 75% to an average of 2.2 million reports a day.
AOL is also working with other companies, including Microsoft and Earthlink, to take down spammers. One of the technologies this group is working on is limiting the effectiveness of faking the sender’s identity, or ‘spoofing’. These three have taken many large spammers to court, both as a group and alone.
Estimates from Tumbleweed Communications Corporation put spam at 80% of total inbound email, up from 55% at the end of 2003. Tumbleweed estimates that more than 2 trillion spam messages went over the internet in November and December.
AOL admits that their decline in total spam volume does not equate to a decline internet wide.