A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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November 19, 2004

Who's Spam Victim #2?

People have been amazed to hear that, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Chairman Bill Gates (billg@microsoft.com, billgates@chairman.microsoft.com) gets nearly four million spams per day.
Presidential seal

"There are two people who probably are the number one spam recipients in the world," Ballmer reportedly said at a conference in Singapore. "Bill Gates (is first) because he is Bill Gates."

Ballmer apparently never went on to explain who the second-most-spammed person was, but I'm guessing it's President G.W. Bush (president@whitehouse.gov). While Google has indexed 4,373 web pages containing Gates' addresses, the president's addy is published on a whopping 66,200 pages.

(I'm assuming that since Google finds plenty of pages listing these addresses, spammers' harvesting bots have found them too.)

Then again, Bush might get some competion as #2 from the Federal Trade Commission's spam-reporting address. Uce@ftc.gov appears on 34,400 pages, according to Google, and the FTC says it receives 300,000 spam samples every day. (The agency is phasing out that address and wants people to begin using spam@uce.gov instead.)

Posted by brian at November 19, 2004 7:21 AM


Do spammers really go after .gov addresses?

I have little information on .gov, but it seems to me that most spammers avoid .edu addresses. From a number of professors and long time students (including myself) I know that even .edu addresses published on the web do not get much spam. My university just started blocking spam recently, at that point I was getting maybe one spam every other week which I consider pretty low even though it was up from usually one or two per semester. I have always assumed that spammers realize students don't have money and its not worth spamming them.

Posted by: Joe at November 23, 2004 10:11 AM

Do EDU addresses get spam? Well, here's one data point:

I recently obtained a copy of a "remove list" used by a major spammer. (He thinks I'm one of his sales affiliates.) Among the approximately 245,000 email addresses on the list were about 11,000 EDU addresses. (Just over 4% if I did the math right.)

But you're right: there were no US .GOV domains on the remove list.

Posted by: Brian at November 23, 2004 7:28 PM


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