Spam threatens email’s killer app status

11 Apr 2007

This is the first year that spam email volumes are expected to exceed person-to-person email volumes sent worldwide, potentially endangering the usefulness of business email and removing its long held title of a killer app for business.

IDC predicts that nearly 97 billion emails, over 40 billion of which will be spam messages, will be sent daily worldwide in 2007.

This resurgence of spam and the increased frequency of being replaced by text messaging, instant messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) calling, especially among younger consumers and workers, will make it more difficult for email to maintain its status as the leading mission-critical electronic communications method.

“Spam volumes are growing faster than expected due to the success of image-based spam in bypassing anti-spam filters and of email sender identity spoofing in getting higher response rates,” said Mark Levitt, program vice-president for IDC’s Collaborative Computing and Enterprise Workplace research.

“Instant messaging, joined by free and low-cost VoIP calling, will result in slower email growth, especially among teens and young adults,” Levitt said.

IDC estimates that the size of business email volumes sent annually worldwide in 2007 will approach five exabytes, nearly doubling the amount over the past two years.

One exabyte is equal to 1,000 petabytes. A thousand petabytes adds up to one million terabytes, otherwise 1bn gigabytes of data.

IDC said that email providers will need to deploy multiple layers of commercial anti-spam software, appliances and services as well as provide equal access to email from desktop and wireless devices with Ajax and push email.

By John Kennedy