Print Story: Andrew Kantor: Could spam die out all by itself? Maybe.: Andrew Kantor has a theory that anti-spam tools will actually win the spam wars. He postulates that after they cross a certain threshold of effectiveness, the spam business model will fall apart.
But spam has a weak spot of sorts. Unlike viruses, which are written out of sheer malice, spam exists because there is profit in it. As the profit goes away, so will the spam.
Spam exists because it makes someone money, directly or indirectly. The long-term benefit of better spam filters won’t be simply keeping spam out of our inboxes, but in rendering the entire spam business model unsustainable.
I think he’s right, but I think tools will have to take drastic measures before they’re effective enough to work — like, for instance, turning us into a whitelist-only world.
When that happens, I could see the spam market dry up, but we’re 10 years out, at least. And by then, the fundamental technical underpinnings of email will probably have changed anyway.