Friday, November 21, 2008

Spam volume

Early last week McColo was shut down. They provided hosting to nearly half the spam-related community. Some people were saying it wouldn't make a difference, the spammers would just move to different hosts and spam would pick up again. Well, according to SpamCop's statistics, spam hasn't even started to return to it's previous levels yet. You can see the near-vertical drop on the 11th when McColo was cut off, and peak levels since then have held pretty steady. I think one of the reasons is that other hosts looked at what happened to McColo and said "We don't want that happening to us.". I mean, it was pretty major: all of McColo's upstream providers simply pulled the plug on them, terminated the contracts and turned off the interconnect ports. When a spammer who got caught in that comes to another hosting provider, that provider's got to look at the potential down-side of accepting the spammer: complete and total loss of all their business. And they can't say "Oh, that'll never happen.", because McColo is staring them in the face saying "Yes, it will.".

This is, frankly, what we need more of: providers who serve the spammers facing a credible threat of being cut off from the Net if they don't do something about the problem on their network. For the provider it's a question of money, and the best way to change their behavior is to change the cost-benefit equation so the cost of hosting a spammer is higher than the benefit from them.

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