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No One Opens Spam Email…Or Do They?

I recently received an email from a streaming video service that explained their hard drives were stolen, so I had to reset my password. I went through the process on their website and patiently awaited the email which would link me to the reset form.

Email Spam

As I waited, I kept refreshing my inbox for the confirmation email and eventually decided that maybe it went to spam instead. I mean, it had been almost a whole two minutes…the nerve! I opened my spam folder, but didn’t find a password reset email. Instead, I saw all of the junk that was being sent to me instead.

Some of the messages were from valid sources (poor newsletters that have lost their way), but many were the usual suspects: “Stop CRAVINGS and WEIGHT GAIN Today”, “View Anyone’s Criminal History,” and “You don’t have to lose your hair” from Bosley (not exactly good targeting).

While I was sifting through the junk, I wondered, “Why do people still send out this crap?” The messages go straight to spam and it seems like it has been drilled into our brains that they are all most likely scams. So, people don’t open them, right?


I did some research, finding a survey done by MAAWG, and discovered that 43% of people are still opening mail that they suspect to be spam. What’s worse, 11% of people have clicked a link in a spam message and 8% have opened an attachment (!).

Source: MAAWG Consumer Survey

While ISPs and ESPs have a responsibility to help eliminate the threat of malware and viruses from coming into our inboxes, as recipients, we need to err on the side of caution and stay away from the messages that intentionally get filtered into junk folders.

Spam volumes are fortunately on the decline, but spam still accounts for about 70% of mail sent. Botnets make it easy to send out spam, so that’s a number that will likely persist until we come up with a way to thwart it completely.

Luckily for us, some great strides have been made toward total spam extermination.

DKIM signatures, SPF, and DMARC all help mailbox providers pinpoint fishy (or phishy – get it?) mail and make it so those messages never see the light of day.

Since we’re still living in a spammy world, be sure to implement the above authentication methods on your own mail and stay away from that spam folder. Also, if you’re having problems with hair loss or trying to lose weight, it is probably more beneficial to visit your doctor before opening that suspicious message.

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Whois: Kelly O'Hara

Kelly O'Hara was Content Marketing Specialist at Oracle Dyn, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.