Jupiter: Spam Declining, Email Marketing Up

A new report from JupiterResearch predicts that while spending for email marketing campaigns will increase from $885 million in 2005 to $1.1 billion in 2010, the volume of spam messages per Internet user will actually decrease by 13 percent per year over the same timeframe. Jupiter says the average active email user received 3,253 pieces of spam in 2005, but by 2010, that number should drop to just 1,640 pieces of spam.

However, Jupiter is not predicting spammers will be gradually closing up shop and dropping their efforts to flood your mailbox with offers of cheap medication, anatomical enhancements, and cheap software: instead, Jupiter predicts the drop in received spam will be due to more effective filtering by ISPS: the spam problem won’t be going away, but consumers will be better shielded from it. “ISPs are wise to improve spam filtering, and ensure that permission emails[sic] are not erroneously marked as spam,” said David Daniels, Research Director at JupiterResearch and author of the report. “Consumers have a plethora of providers to choose from and will stray from those who do not effectively filter messages.”

The problem with ISP email filtering is that it also blocks legitimate email messages: these days, almost everyone has had the experience of an email message they expected being falsely flagged as spam and blocked by an ISP, improperly deleted, or simply vanishing into the ether. Jupiter’s report says that delivery of legitimate mail seems to have stabilized at roughly 88 percent, but should modestly improve to 90 percent in the next few years. Advertisers may welcome th improvement, but it’s a long way from the Internet’s pre-commercial days when email delivery was often more reliable than the postal service. David Schatsky, Jupiter’s VP of Research, noted “Delivery rates will rise because of marketers’ efforts to improve list management practices. And the greater control by ISPs over spam will mean a lot less waste.”