The Costs of Spam

The volume of spam that is sent out every minute of the day has reached pandemic proportions. The simple reason for this is because the cost to a spammer ranges from zero to negligible. In fact, anyone with a list of email addresses and Internet access can spam thousands, even millions of people with a single click of the mouse. The cost of spam, however, now runs in the millions.


Spam takes up valuable Internet bandwidth that would otherwise be used for legitimate business and personal use. Bandwidth refers to rate at which data is transmitted; it is the amount of data that can be transmitted within a fixed amount of time. The lower the bandwidth, the slower the transmission.

When spam uses up valuable bandwidth, and clogs up the system, it causes costly delays in the transmission of important, legitimate information. It forces the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to increase bandwidth just to handle the increased volume. This costs money, and this cost is passed on to the consumer.

Viruses, Worms and Malware

It is becoming an increasingly common menace. Spammers will attach viruses to the email they send out for purely criminal or malicious purposes. Some viruses, for example, are programmed to self-install and give the spammer access to all the vital information stored on your computer. This information is often be used for identity theft purposes.

Other viruses simply do great harm to computers the world over. A Consuner Reports study estimates that the cost of repairs and replacement parts for damage done to computer systems by viruses was over 8 billion over the past two years. This does ot take into account the billions spent on anti-spam and anti-virus software.


Spam is not only annoying, it also takes up valuable time just to go through it and figure out sort out the spam from the valid mail. For businesses that receives hundreds of emails a day, the cost in time and productivity really adds up.
The “cost of spam calculator” that is available at estimates the that spam costs almost $1000 per employee each year, with over 50 hours of lost productivity for each one.

Lost Messages and Data

As we try to battle the spammers by installing spam filters and blockers, these programs often weed out legitimate businesss correspondence. Lost correspondence from a client or supplier can easily cost businesses money, clients and goodwill

Identity Theft

The phenomenon of phishing has become more prevalent as spammers think up new ways to make a buck at your expense. Phishing involves the use of email that is designed to look like a legitimate company has sent it. It is sent out to millions of people in the hope of scamming them into revealing personal information that the scammer can use for identity theft. The cost of Phishing and identity theft to their victims now also runs in the billions.

The cost of spam is a financial drain on the economy. We pay a high price for the spammer to scam his victims. The spammer pays nothing.