Control Panel      
Web Panache Support

Web Panache Support

Design Help
CGI/ASP Scripts
ColdFusion Tips

Last updated 11/08/06

Spam FAQs

Spam001: Why am I suddenly getting more SPAM?

Spam is growing exponentially with no signs of abating. Growth in absolute numbers:

  • 1978 - An e-mail spam is sent to 600 addresses.
  • 1994 - First large-scale spam sent to 6000 bulletin boards, reaching millions of people.
  • 2005 - (June) 30 billion per day
  • 2006 - (June) 55 billion per day

The amount of spam users see in their mailboxes is just the tip of the iceberg.  As of the last quarter of 2005, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group estimates that 80% - 85% of incoming mail is 'abusive mail'. 

Ironically, filtering methods intended to reduce SPAM have actually increased it. Spammers know you and/or your ISP have various SPAM filters and blocks in place. To counter this, they send the same message to you from three or more different locations, using variations in the 'FROM' and 'SUBJECT' fields hoping at least one will be delivered  This is why you sometimes get 5 pieces of identical SPAM, whereas in years past you would only receive that particular message once.

SPAM is big business. Technically savvy SPAM companies exist and are doing well. Since they use the mail servers of hosts and ISPs, and easily collect or create address lists, their production cost is practically non-existent.  What they offer their clients is the equivalent of sending a postal mailing to millions of people anywhere in the world multiple times a minute, without paying a single stamp in postage.  There are many businesses interested in taking advantage of this 'service', despite the fact it is a direct abuse of the world wide mail delivery system, and costs host/ISPs hundreds and thousands of dollars per year. To make matters worse, despite attempts to curtain SPAM through legislation, recent lawsuits have shown judges ruling in favor of big business mass-marketers, who use the "Freedom of Speech" protection law, citing the rights of politicians to mail unsolicited political propaganda to potential voters as an example to justify the spread of unsolicited e-mail without penalty.  The SPAM industry has run amok.

back to SPAM FAQs

Spam002:  Why can't my ISP or host block all the SPAM?

To a mail server, SPAM looks exactly like a legitimate e-mail.  It does not know the difference between an unwanted ad, an e-mail order from your company's web site, or a letter from your aunt Sally.  Through SPAM filters and IP blocks, mail servers can be 'told' which messages to deliver or reject based on specific keywords or originating IP addresses.  Hosts and ISPs use these methods globally, but must be careful. Filters and blocks are 'all or nothing' approaches which can compound the problem, often creating more delivery problems than they solve.  UNSOLVABLE ISSUE:  Spammers know about IP blocks and purposefully send e-mail from IP ranges used by regular people.  Most SPAM comes through servers owned by large ISPs (e.g. Verizon, Comcast and even AOL). For example, when your ISP or host blocks one of Verizon's IPs to prevent SPAM stemming from it, they risk blocking thousands if not millions of legitimate messages coming from the same source.  Conversely, such blocks prevent you from e-mailing legitimate Verizon customers who happen to use that IP. Spammers also rotate the IPs they abuse regularly. This makes it nearly impossible to track the abuse patterns and identify culprits with any lasting results.

back to SPAM FAQs

Spam003:  How did the Spammer get my e-mail address?

Spammers harvest addresses from message boards, usenet postings, directories, web pages, obtain them from databases, public records or simply guess them by using dictionaries of common names and domains.  Spammers have developed sophisticated programs that automatically spider your website collecting addresses.  Because of this, you should never post actual e-mail addresses on your web site pages.

back to SPAM FAQs

Spam004:  Why am I getting SPAM through my website forms?

Spammers use tools that spider your website looking for forms to e-mail.  Once they find your form, they will flood it with SPAM messages.  They same is true for guest books, discussion groups, or any other type of form that allows people to submit data to you.  Like mail servers, your web form script does not know the difference between an advertisement and a legit submission.  It must accept both.  Form field validation can help to some extent.  Ask your web site designer or programmer for more information on protecting your web forms.

back to FAQ list

Related Articles:

Frontpage Coldfusion and much much moreNew!!  Please read our Policy Regarding AOL, Mail Auto-forwarded to Third Party ISPs and Mailing Lists


Still need help? Complete our Support Request Form

Web Panache Hosting