The rising amount of unwanted email, or spam, threatens to clog our email servers and inboxes and make it difficult to receive the messages we do want. The amount of "junk mail" from the post office that I receive does not seem to be increasing. Some mail delivered by the postal service might be annoying, but the unwanted email we refer to, as spam is way beyond annoying. All spam is bothersome but an alarming amount is offensive, fraudulent and illegal. Spam is a burden to the person who gets it and to the network of computer systems that deliver it. This burden also brings a significant cost to employers.
Spam has some obvious direct costs. Unlike standard postal mailing where the sender pays the postage, the recipient of spam has to pay to receive the e-mail. Delivering the message costs money in Internet bandwidth and disk storage. Once received the unwanted message has to be stored until read and deleted by the user. In many cases the e-mail still remains in the "deleted Items" folder even after it has been discarded. A report by Nucleus Research has set the estimated cost to employers at $874 per year for each employee. This estimate takes into account the time lost by the employee as he or she filters through the electronic garbage. Although the cost of a single spam message to an individual user is small, the combined cost of wasted time for an organization can be huge. Along with the direct costs associated with IT resources there is a large indirect cost in terms of employee productivity. Apart from being very irritating, managing and deleting unwanted e-mail takes time and effort. Many spammers are using techniques to disguise e-mail and to trick users into opening messages. This is easily done through the message subject. As the quantity of spam increases, so does the cost involved in managing it.
Spam is unregulated. In most countries bulk mailing by post is regulated by a government organization, but due to the nature of the Internet, spam is not.