December 16, 2004

Email is dying ... Stats from Postini

Whenever I see more evidence that Email is dying, the John Lennon refrain of "War is over" pops into my head. There must be some art in this. Anyway, here's two pieces of evidence: you will get this email TWICE - I'm sorry about that, let me know if you want unsubscribed, but MT for some reason has decided to double send the emails.

The second piece of evidence is more supporting of the thesis that email is dying. Postini, a mail applications and spam filter provider company, has released some stats on the year according to spam. The headlines: last year (2003) 22% of emails were legitimate. This year that number is down to 12%, and next year, 2005, Postini predicts that only 8% of emails will be legit.

For me the number is more like 5%, so I'd be happy with that :) But, joking aside, it lends credence to the notion that email is becoming more expensive than it is worth. Young people already have ditched it, and older people are also learning the joys of phones, chat, blogs and other ways to stay in touch. Which is good, as email has proven to be an archaic tool over which to do business. FC applications much prefer chat and phones. So say I, at least.

Oh, and Postini also said that virus-infected mails have exploded: 2003 had an average of one in 200, and towards the end of this year they saw 1 in 25! Hard numbers for those who think this is a passing phase.

"Email is dying ... War is over ..." I wish I knew what song that was.

Addendum, further evidence from Fm is this Korean article on the new generation not using email.

JP spotted this this article. If you can ignore the American superiority complex (common in popularist american writings), it includes some good stuff about how the blogs are spreading into areas desperate for communication.

Posted by iang at December 16, 2004 12:41 PM | TrackBack

>"Email is dying ... War is over ..." I wish I knew what song that was.

Happy Christmas (War is Over)


Posted by: Steve at December 16, 2004 04:32 PM

This came back from a friend in Brussels after I bounced your piece on email on to him whilst we were talking about new ways of watching TV etc:-)

Posted by: Fm at December 16, 2004 08:20 PM

Those figures does not necessarily mean that the number of legitimate emails is decreasing. I would rather guess that the number of spam messages is increasing.

Personally I get about 500 spam messages a day but my spam filter catches 99.8% of that so email is still usable for me.

Posted by: Martin Forssen at December 17, 2004 02:32 AM

Martin, you are correct in that we might no be seeing necessarily any drop off in legit email...

This is more a big picture observation. Spam keeps getting bigger and worser, and there is no let up in that trend. At some point, it starts to bite in a systemic fashion, and email starts to suffer because of it.

I predict that point has now passed; I think the phishing epidemic of 2004 has pushed the spam into new territory, and now we are going to see the perpetual over grazing of the commons.

I would caution one thing - if you are protected behind good spam filters, then you can't see it. The question you have to ask is what is happening with the rest of the population and the rest of the systems?

(I for one have just spent the last 3 months with no spam filters other than SpamAssasin from the ISP which just marks the email, doesn't delete it, and is only about 50% effective. So, in practice, ignoring it works just as well. Just last night I got thunderbird 1.0 working again and may now be protected again, we shall see......)


Posted by: Iang at December 17, 2004 08:30 AM