Why does spam exist?
Everyone finds it annoying, so why does it keep happening? Spam persists because:
- regular e-mail is inherently insecure, which means that e-mail messages are easily forged, enabling spammers to avoid detection.
- spamming is a business with a very low barrier to entry. In other words, the startup costs to become a spammer are very small, so every day new people are trying it.
- sending spam is inexpensive. Do you have 100, 1,000, or 1,000,000 messages to send? Each costs about the same amount of money.
- some people open spam. Even if a very small percentage of people open a particular message and buy something, that's still enough for spammers to turn a profit. People continue to spam because they continue to profit from it.
- e-mail works internationally, so if it's illegal to send in one country, spammers can simply move their operations to another country.
- zombie computers are sending it, enabling spammers to avoid detection.
There are a number of other reasons, but in any case spam is currently a very difficult problem to solve completely. At UCSF, we're doing the best we can to keep the problem to a minimum.
Go To: Handling Spam