Spam: Product of the Year?

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Spam gets called a lot of things under the breath of frustrated users and network administrators, but "product of the year" typically isn't one of them.

Basex, a New York research and consulting firm, has announced that spam is its product of the year.

Spam Makes a Splash

"Nothing has been more disruptive than spam," says Jonathan Spira, CEO and chief analyst of Basex. He says the impact from both a cost and productivity standpoint makes spam the most disruptive force in corporate America. "It seems that spam could hold the distinction of product of the year for a while. We looked at a bunch of technology but everything paled in terms of mass recognition."

Spira says even his mother, who doesn't have e-mail, knows what spam is. "Everyone is talking about spam and you can't say that about anything else."

More in 2004

And it seems people will keep talking, according to a list of predictions made this week by Postini, which offers e-mail security and management services.

The company predicts that in 2004 spam will increase as a total percentage of e-mail from more than 50 percent to more than 75 percent; that directory-harvest attacks will continue to increase dramatically; and that sending fraudulent e-mail to steal a recipient's identity information, a practice known as "phishing," will rise significantly and turn spam from a nuisance into a damaging activity.

Expensive Annoyance

It's those sorts of conditions that Spira says makes spam the most disruptive force and one of the most costly in terms of lost productivity, bandwidth, and storage costs. The firm has produced a free report outlining the costs associated with spam and how it affects companies.

"The lost productivity, the need for antispam software, the user issues--that's what make it so disruptive," Spira says.

This story, "Spam: Product of the Year?" was originally published by Network World.

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