Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spam is killing the planet!

Spam is killing planet earth! According to a study by ICF International, provisioned by McAfee, Spam email every year costs us a lot in terms of time, productivity, and ... carbon footprint!
...the estimated 62 trillion spam e-mail that get sent each year consume 33 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 2.4 million homes. In addition, spam e-mail releases as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as 3.1 million cars consuming 2 billion gallons of gasoline. - ICF International
While the specifics of the study are a little wispy, and the actual numbers are being questioned, there is merit to the attempt by McAfee to change the thinking around such disruptive processes that sometimes accompany technological progress. Everyone is impacted by Spam, so this is relevant to the real world. I'd expand spam to cover spammy phonecalls, and spammy SMS messages (I was barraged by these when I borrowed my mom's Vodafone cell phone in India).

Search engine spam, blackhat SEO, is a similar negative force in the world of search. Computer viruses, popups, etc. ... another scourge!

There are other environmentally wasteful advances, such as standby power in appliances, but it can be argued that they provide some value. Spam, unlike these, is clearly a negative. (I guess they do provide value to the perpetrators :-( )

This carbonic approach to reporting is obviously beneficial to McAfee, so it should be taken with a pinch of salt. Other dubious environmental claims have also been made by black search engines, only to be debunked, so it is always good to put things in perspective.

Separate the wheat from the chaff, and spam from email!!
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