America Online has declared 2004 a "banner year" in its fight against unsolicited commercial e-mail messages, commonly referred to as spam.
Spam reports from AOL's members fell from a daily average of almost 11 million in November 2003 to a daily average of about 2.2 million in November 2004, the Internet service and content provider said on Monday.
Meanwhile, at its e-mail gateway, AOL blocked 50 percent fewer spam messages in 2004 than in 2003, with a daily average drop from about 2.4 billion to about 1.2 billion, the Dulles, Virginia, company said.
"Though there have been, and continue to be, variations in the overall rate of spam, 2004 was the first year with a substantial and consistent--and likely sustainable--drop in spam on AOL since 1999," AOL said in a statement.
In addition to citing improved spam-fighting technology and operations, AOL credited tougher enforcement activities by the government for the drop in unsolicited e-mail.
At the end of September 2004, AOL (a Time Warner Inc. subsidiary) had 22.7 million members in the United States and 6.3 million in Europe.
There is every indication, however, that spammers aren't quitting the business just yet. PC World's spam specialist, Senior Reporter Tom Spring, discusses other ways you may be attacked next year in his most recent Spam Slayer column. According to Spring, "E-mail security firm MX Logic reports that spam accounted for 80 percent of all e-mail in 2004, up from 62 percent in 2003. The company predicts the proportion will continue rising in 2005."