Poll: Do You Have Email Spam Problems?


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Yesterday I was listening to a talk show in the radio, and one guy was talking about Facebook Messages, their new email/messaging system. At one point the show host said something like this:

Let’s hope this new system will solve the spam problem. I believe that over 90% of the email messages people receive right now are spam, right?

And the “tech expert” went like this:

Oh yeah spam is a big problem, and yes filtering through all the spam we receive is one of the biggest challenges right now.

When I heard that I thought to myself: “You gotta be kidding!”.

I agree with the person with the fact that 90% of the email messages flowing around are spam, but filtering them is not a challenge anymore, as Gmail and other clients solved it years ago.

I am not sure about you, but I get almost zero spam on my inbox. If I was to count I guess it would come to 3 or 4 spam messages making it to my inbox every month, which I consider to be a negligible problem (especially because I receive around 3,000 emails per month, so the percentage of spam messages over the total would be 0.1%).

And I don’t use any fancy tactics or software (e.g., spamarrest). I just use a Gmail account, and sometimes I even use my email around the web (e.g., to sign-up for online services, newsletters and the like).

So I don’t get why people complain so much about spam. As long as you use Gmail or another decent client your inbox should be pretty clean. But hey, that is my opinion, and want to hear from you guys. That is why I created a poll, and you can also leave a comment below to expand your thoughts.

Remark: Keep in mind that the definition of spam is an unsolicited message. If you receive messages from services and newsletters you subscribed to (e.g., YouTube, an online store or the marketer who wanted your email address to show you a video), that is not spam. Sure those messages can be equally annoying, but they are not spam technically, so please don’t consider those when answering the poll.

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26 Responses to “Poll: Do You Have Email Spam Problems?”

  • Christian Guico

    I do have spam problems but the good thing is they have never came across on my Gmail inbox. Yes indeed Gmail spam filters are good but its really annoying too if I have spam messages on the spam folder and I keep receiving those kind of messages about viagra and some sort of stuff more or less 10 messages a day.

  • Galina

    I have great problems with spams. Every day I receive about 80-100 spams, some days up to 200 and more. Three or five days ago I got more than 200 spams, three or four of them were sent maybe 20 times, other messages were hidden among them. I was so bothered! Every day I spend much time, which I could use for much more interesting activities, for removing spasm. Unfortunately, filtering does not help considerably. Now I see I certainly try gmail.
    To our success in a struggle with spams.

  • Simon Dodd

    I use both gmail, yahoo and a mail client to access all of my email accounts for different websites and reasons. My Gmail account gets a lot of spam but it pretty much all gets filtered into the spam folder so doesn’t affect me, yahoo gets filled with spam in both the inbox and the spam folder but I have had that address since the nineties!!

    My mail client however…I get around 100 emails a day come into one account which I use to sign up to all sorts of things so it is to be expected, it’s just a case of skimming it quickly and deleting, I have no other spam filtering setup though and I’ll probably get something sorted soon for that.

    Interesting debate though, thanks for starting it!

  • Sam

    Keep in mind that most companies that use an exchange server or another 3rd party email client that does not have a spam filter.

    At my last job i would get so much junk. We installed a barracuda and it began catching 20,000+ emails a day across the network.

  • Matt K

    What I thought of when reading this is companies that have suddenly changed their email frequency – going from one a month to one a day (several retail stores apparently did this all at once – I was getting one email a month with upcoming specials from each, and now it’s a “deal of the day” for the past month and a half).

    I would say that’s also a spam problem, especially when I previously said not spam because it was once a month, but at one a day – you’re spamming me.

  • Mr Web Traffic

    My gmail account is 5 years old, and the amount of spam I get is staggering. over 500 emails per day.

  • Paul Cunningham

    Email spam is not a problem that got “solved”, nor will it ever be. Spam is a constantly evolving landscape of new threats, techniques, and dynamic elements (such as reputation) where unfortunately the bad guys outnumber the good guys (and always will, as long as criminals can make money from it).

    It is a problem for businesses because of the financial investment they need to make in antispam systems to protect themselves.

    It is a problem for all of us because of the impact it has on the servers and networks on the internet that we’re all trying to use every day.

    And it is a deeper problem in society because of the dangerous criminal elements that are behind it all. To most of us “spam” is some annoying male enhancement ads and the occassional aggressive marketer who thinks their email is relevant and doesn’t need your permission to enter your inbox.

    And if you aren’t convinced just read this:

    • Daniel Scocco

      I think the solution we found via the spam filtering technique is good enough (albeit not perfect). As I said, spam takes 5 minutes of my time per month. I lose a lot more on traffic jams and even queues waiting for a Big Mac…

  • Brent Stangel

    Very little problem with Gmail. Of the thousands of spam my multiple accounts receive daily, only a handful make it through. have never had legit mail go to spam as far as I know. In a world that includes Gmail, why would you use anything else?

  • Adam Mello

    Hi Daniel,

    I voted for No. Although I receive a spam from time to time, it is not that bad. Most of the unwanted mails have a unsubscribe link, so it is not that hard to get rid of them.

    And if there is no link to unsubscribe you can always suggest your Gmail that this message is a spam, so soon you will stop receiving messages from this account.


  • odtaa

    I use Gmail and make the spam folder hidden. In that way I don’t see the hundreds of spam emails.

    I do check about once a week as an email newsletter was for some reason pushed into the spam folder.

    More worrying around 50% of my emails to my wife at work end up in her spam folder. Or is she trying to tell me something?

  • Stratman

    I’ve used Gmail since their very early days in the early 2000s.

    A friend of mine invited me to Gmail (at the time account signup was via invitation only) as I was looking for a free POP3/SMTP capable webmail other than Myrealbox and Yahoo. Yahoo Mail initially provided free POP3/SMTP access but then asked users to upgrade to their paid services for it.

    What I liked about Gmail was its clean, uncluttered interface and ads are kept to a bare minimum, plus free POP3/SMTP mail to boot.

    My Yahoo mail is still active, but every time I log into my account, I find my Inbox stuffed with lots of spam. I got tired of deleting spam manually and used Yahoo mail lesser than ever and soon stopped using the service.

    I do get the odd spam in my Gmail Inbox once in a while, but more often than not it’s caused by the sender’s PC being infected with some kind of mass mailing worm or virus.

    Gmail’s spam filtering is clearly superior to Yahoo’s although I do get false positives sometimes, where valid email that’s incorrectly identified as spam.

  • Saki

    I get spam messages often, and by spam I don’t mean classic spam which gmail recognizes easily, but messages from people asking me to do something. It is so annoying, don’t ever leave your email open public on the Internet.

  • John Soares

    I have both a yahoo account and a gmail account. I get 5 or so spam in my yahoo inbox each week, and maybe 1 in my gmail inbox. Easy to handle and definitely not a problem.

    • Web Marketing Tips

      so less spam.

      Really lucky man.

  • Antone Roundy

    Unless 100% of the emails you send make it through the recipients’ spam filters, you’ve got a spam problem.

    And unless 100% of the emails you request make it through your spam filter, you’ve got a spam problem. I occasionally check my GMail spam folder, and it’s not uncommon to find something from a mailing list I intentionally subscribed to in there. Not even GMail has it completely figured out.

    Unless none of the products or services you buy costs more because of the cost of processing spam, you’ve got a spam problem.

    • Hans Henrik Appel

      Excactly Antone!
      My spam problem is not the few unsolicited emails I get – but all the extra work that comes with managing spam filters, making sure that my own emails get through the filter and so on.

      But the best part of spam is when you can excuse a late reply with the ever-so-used “sorry – your email was lost in my spam filter for some reason!” *LOL*

      Responding to Daniels question… No, spam in my inbox is not a problem. But spam is still a problem. It’s just not that visible anymore.

    • Daniel Scocco

      Then I would say we have a problem on every single aspect of our society, cause nothing works 100%.

      We have a problem in car manufacturing, in computers, and so on.

  • Samir@Indihow

    For me the ratio of spam received in my Gmail inbox to spam filtered out is around 1:100 and spam : non-spam is around 25:100. So, I think Google is doing a pretty good job.
    It’s just like you can’t stop Insurance Agents from calling you, but you can keep an assistant who filters what calls you receive.

  • Jane@Find All Answers

    I absolutely get no spam in my gmail account. I get about 2-3 everyday but they go straight to my spam folder and they never ever have made it to my inbox.

    But Yahoo is so inefficient in handling spam. It is so annoying that many spam mails manage to get to the inbox and even if I mark them as spam Yahoo doesn’t learn it (while gmail perfectly does!).

    Further some genuine mails from frequently emailed addresses get to the spam folder and Yahoo doesn’t care how many times I press the ‘Not Spam’ button, they still end up in the spam folder.

    So I think it is basically with the email provider!

  • Mike Piper

    I do not agree.

    Yes, they got it by legitimate means: It’s posted publicly on my website.

    But so did the spammiest of spammers: After all, it’s posted publicly on my website.

    In my view, it’s not how you get a person’s email address, it’s what you send to them that defines whether or not it’s spam.

    For example, my contact page explicitly states that I’m not interested in reviewing anybody’s personal finance software. Yet I get ~10 emails a week asking me to do exactly that. To me, that’s clearly spam.

    Same thing goes with any email that starts “Dear Webmaster,” then proceeds to ask me to link to a not-very-related website.

    In my view, if you send out the same exact email to hundreds of people (none of whom requested it), it’s spam — regardless of how you got the email addresses.

    Regardless of all that though, from the perspective of gmail, I think it would be ideal if it could adapt to each user. That is, if you and I have different definitions of spam (which it can see from what I mark as spam that you do not), it seems that it should be able to learn from that.

  • Mike Piper

    I’m a gmail user too. And I agree that gmail solved the traditional spam problem long ago. But gmail doesn’t even put up a fight against PR-blast spam. I get a ton of those emails everyday, mark them each as spam, and gmail can’t seem to figure it out.

    • Daniel Scocco

      I assume those PR people got your email thought legitimate means though, and in this case Gmail shouldn’t block it indeed. Do you agree?

  • Vlatko

    Actually that guy is right. If you used your email somewhere and especially if you left your email in an open form (comment, text, etc.) somewhere on the web, that email is quickly harvested and then spammed very frequently.

    Then 90% of all messages you receive are spam. You’re not seeing them with Gmail since they do not arrive into your inbox folder.

    They’re efficiently recognized as spam and placed in spam folder, and if older than 30 days are automatically deleted.

    I bet if you check your spam folder you’ll find several thousands of spam messages there (depends on how and where you used your email).

    Extremely rarely you would receive a spam message in your inbox. 3-4 per month.

    It’s the same with the comments on established blog. You receive lot of spam comments but you don’t have to weed them out. They’re efficiently recognized as such and placed in spam folder. So all you have to do is just skim them and hit “delete all”.

    So the answer of the pool question would be NO, but due to the efficiency of Gmail.

    • Daniel Scocco

      That is what I meant by “receive”, to actually enter your inbox. I re-phrased the paragraph though, to make it more clear.

      • Web Marketing Tips

        nice to see that’you modify according to your readers need and requirements.

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