Spam Equals Murder — An Argument by Arithmetic

ZDNet has an article entitled Massive Surge in Spam.

Spam Is MurderI’ve often made the argument that we hardly take the cost of spam seriously enough. May I suggest that we consider spam as micro-kidnappings or distributed shortening of lifespans. How so?

Let’s say a professional spammer sends out, conservatively, 100 million spams a week (article regarding one spammer allegedly having sent over 2 billion spams) and that each spam requires merely three seconds of human time (Australia’s Internet expert says 5 seconds per ) invested either in

  • hitting a delete button
  • working to purchase anti-spam software
  • configuration and updating of the aforementioned software
  • hiring technical staff at one’s company to address spam or
  • any number of other incidental costs
  • helping non-techie relatives and friends deal with their spam problems
  • venting on a blog about the spam problem

300 million seconds is 5,000,000 minutes or 83,333 hours or 3472 days or 9.5 years of human potential stolen… per week. Allowing one spammer to continue like this for two months would exceed the average lifetime of human potential.

Let’s not even discuss what the billions spent on ameliorating spam could do if available to be used in healthcare, instead.

So, to address this, I’ve created a Spam Is Murder counter: Virtual Human Deaths by One Spammer calculated since the beginning of the 21st Century (that’s 1 January 2001, folks). That’ll appear in the left sidebar for a long time.

Of course, there are other solutions to the problem of spam.

What’s your solution?

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are not shared by the entire staff of TechTalk.