AOL Reports Big Drop In Spam

Dec 27, 2004 (07:12 AM EST)

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America Online Inc., the nation’s largest Internet service provider, reported Monday a significant reduction in the amount of spam sent to its subscribers, the first drop in five years.

The Dulles, Va., company said the average amount of spam sent daily from the Internet to AOL members dropped by 22 percent in November to 1.6 billion messages from 2.1 billion during the same month last year. The average daily volume of spam blocked at the ISP’s gateway fell to 1.2 billion late in 2004 from a peak of 2.4 billion in 2003.

AOL, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., said the decline in spam targeting its e-mail network indicates that many spammers had stopped trying to get junk messages through the company’s filters. The numbers showed that “the rise of Internet spam targeted to AOL has been halted and, in fact, reversed for the first time in more than five years,” company officials said in a statement.

“Our members are telling us they are getting less spam than ever on AOL, and we're seeing a substantial drop in the number of spam messages reaching AOL members' spam folders,” Carl Hutzler, director of anti-spam operations at AOL, said in a statement. “That means one thing: many spammers are raising the white flag of surrender for the first time since 1999."

The number of spam reports filed by AOL members fell 75 percent in November to 2.2 million a day from 11 million a day in the same month last year, the company said.

AOL credited the decline in spam to its own improved technical anti-spam countermeasures and stepped-up enforcement actions undertaken by government authorities and AOL under tougher federal and state laws, such as the new federal CAN-SPAM law, which went into effect in January.