The Spam Experiment

Monday, January 10, 2005

Spam Statistics

Here is my first full week of tracking spam statistics. Totals Percentage
Total Emails 825
Spams 645 78.18%
Suspect 2 0.24%
Virus 0 0.00%
False Positives: 0 0.00%
False Negatives: 0 0.00%

Total Emails: 104
Spams: 18 17.31%
Suspected Spam: 0 0.00%
Virus: 50 48.08%
False Positives: 0 0.00%
False Negatives: 12 11.54% is the control domain that receives both legitimate email and spam. is a new domain created for this test. It was created to look like a legitimate web hosting company that a spammer might want to mail bomb. It has a little bit of legitimate email coming through but is primarily spam. I need to develop more legitimate email in this domain....

A few suprising results came out this week:

I had more viruses from posting on newsgroups than spam. I also had quite a few false negatives. I think the reason for the false negatives is some small time spammers found my email and sent me spam. For example, a couple of individuals emailed me direct links to join some casino web sites. These people appear to be trolling a specific newsgroup and sending out small batches of spam. It is much harder to track these small time spammers than the guys who send out millions of spams per day. At least that is my hypothosis so far.

As far as the lack of spam goes. I've signed up to a couple more known spam resources. I signed up to a couple of "free" porn lists, confirmed my email, then immediately unsubscribed. I also signed up to a couple without confirming my email.

I also went to a site that sends a particularly large amount of spam. The site is It appears to me that this is the most common form of spam harvetsing out there today. This is one of those "free offers" sites. You join thinking you're going to get a free gift card or whatever. However their terms and conditions state you must request partner offers from several of their affiliates in order to qualify for the free gift card. This of course gets you on their "opt in" lists.

So I filled out the initial request and then stopped as soon as I got to any that asked for further details such as address, phone number, birthday, social security, etc. Why would I want to give that stuff out to an "unknown" web site?

As soon as I got those emails I unsubscribed. So for last week I'll consider the emails I received from and their affiliates as legitimate email. However now that I am unsubscribed I'll consider any further mailings from them as spam.

I'll keep you guys posted!
Ben Fitts


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