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Prediction that Spam Will Diminish E-Mail Use

According to a newly published IDC study, a resurgence of spam and the increased frequency of being replaced by text messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) calling, especially among younger consumers and workers, will make it more difficult for email to maintain its status as the leading mission-critical electronic communications method.

IDC predicts that nearly 97 billion emails, over 40 billion of which will be spam messages, will be sent daily worldwide in 2007. This is the first year that spam email volumes are expected to exceed person-to-person email volumes sent worldwide.

"Spam volumes are growing faster than expected due to the success of image-based spam in bypassing antispam filters and of email sender identity spoofing in getting higher response rates," said Mark Levitt, program vice president for IDC's Collaborative Computing and Enterprise Workplace research. "Instant messaging, joined by free and low-cost VoIP calling, will result in slower email growth, especially among teens and young adults."

I believe that the concept of spamming consumers is a byproduct of legacy mass-market advertiser thinking -- those schooled in broadcasting irrelevant messages to people, purely on the basis that they have the means to do so. That traditional model demonstrates a contempt for consumer's time and attention. It's grounded in the belief that there is no negative consequence to applying interruption-based marketing principles.

IDC estimates that the size of business email volumes sent annually worldwide in 2007 will approach 5 exabytes, nearly doubling the amount over the past two years (Note: 1 exabyte = 1 thousand petabytes = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes). IDC believes that email solution providers and their customers need to respond to these continued threats to email by doing the following:

- Recognize that email will be only one of several core elements of the emerging unified communications vision that solution providers will offer customers.

- Deploy multiple layers of commercial antispam software, appliances, and services that are regularly updated to increase effectiveness over time.

- Provide equal access to email from desktop and wireless access devices with Ajax and push email.

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