The volume of global spam has fallen precipitously in recent months. According to the security firm Symantec, the volume of spam has fallen from more than 200 billion spam emails per day in August to “only” 50 billion spam emails per day in December. Of course, 50 billion bits of spam is still 50 billion bits too many. Still, it is nice to see the numbers drop. Spam is a good example of how louts can take advantage of a great idea like email and ruin it for everyone.
Experts are wondering what the cause of the drop in spam volume might be and are speculating about whether the decline is permanent. They wonder if the big-time spammers have stopped because they’ve been arrested, or if regulations have made spamming too difficult and risky, or if the “botnets” that send a lot of the spam have been disabled somehow, or whether spammers are turning to some new campaign. The reality is, nobody knows.
I wonder if the answer isn’t simpler: the market is so saturated that spamming just isn’t economical anymore. After all, is it possible that any red-blooded male hasn’t heard about Viagra or the various options for lengthening and thickening body parts? Could any person with a computer not be aware of the many simple, no-pain ways of losing weight or quitting smoking, or the satisfying miracle of electronic cigarettes?
According to the “invisible hand” theory of market economics, when supply vastly outstrips demand economic forces will work to bring supply and demand into some kind of equilibrium. In this instance, the invisible hand may have stopped using the mouse to click on those intriguing “male enhancement” options, and spammers have been forced to look for other lines of work as a result.