The number of surveys Information Age receives on junk mail and the threat it poses to businesses has reached almost spam-like levels, and the findings vary enormously in accuracy.
But at least three of the biggest email service providers now plan to do something about it.
Microsoft, AOL Time Warner and Yahoo have put aside their commercial differences to call upon the rest of the IT industry to join in a concerted assault on unsolicited email.
The three companies made their case for an aggressive approach to spammers at a three-day conference on email practices organised by the US Federal Trade Commission in early May. Each of the companies has to manage hundreds of millions of junk emails every day. AOL alone blocks an average of 780 million emails a day.
The goal of the initiative is to get technology suppliers to join them in developing new technical standards that will help them, and their customers, deal with spam more effectively – for example, by asking IT companies to join together and take out class action lawsuits.
In the UK, the government is consulting with industry on proposed new legislation. To comply with the European Union’s Electronic Communication Data Protection Directive, organisations now have to ensure that any email recipients ‘opt-in’ to correspondence.