Spam Reduced 66% Worldwide After One Company Shuttered

emailspam is lost productivityWorldwide spam is down 66% since this past Tuesday, November 11, 2008, after two ISPs said “enough!” and pulled the plug on a California hosting company.

The story was reported by the Washington Post:

The volume of junk e-mail sent worldwide dropped drastically today after a Web hosting firm identified by the computer security community as a major host of organizations allegedly engaged in spam activity was taken offline, according to security firms that monitor spam distribution online.

While its gleaming, state-of-the-art, 30-story office tower in downtown San Jose, Calif., hardly looks like the staging ground for what could be called a full-scale cyber crime offensive, security experts have found that a relatively small firm at that location is home to servers that serve as a gateway for a significant portion of the world’s junk e-mail.

The servers are operated by McColo Corp., which these experts say has emerged as a major U.S. hosting service for international firms and syndicates that are involved in everything from the remote management of millions of compromised computers to the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and designer goods, fake security products and child pornography via email.

But the company’s web site was not accessible today, when two Internet providers cut off MoColo’s connectivity to the Internet, security experts said. Immediately after McColo was unplugged, security companies charted a precipitous drop in spam volumes worldwide. E-mail security firm IronPort said spam levels fell by roughly 66 percent as of Tuesday evening.

When I first read this, I thought: it can’t be. One hosting company cannot be responsible for so much spam. So I checked my junk mail folders for various email accounts. And you know what? Those junk mail folders had at least 50% less spam than what I have unfortunately come to consider “normal.”

And my “good mail” inbox was remarkably clear of the occasional spam message that inevitably seems to sneak through. Only one got through the filters since Tuesday — a record.

When I think of the lost productivity that I and other small biz people suffer from having to scan through hundreds of spam messages daily to find legitimate emails that get snared by mistake, it is really annoying. I only hope this respite lasts a little while.

Check your spam folders in your email programs. Have you noticed any difference in spam volumes?

And is anyone else bothered by the fact that this was a community effort, and that government law enforcement did not appear to take action?

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.