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January 13, 2007

Yahoo! Mail Spam Experiment

I like my Yahoo! email address. It's seen me through at least 4 jobs and 3 residences. The constancy of that address eases my anxiety through periods of uncertainty.

I don't entirely hate spam. I peruse the titles to see what the new trends in spam are because, frankly, spammers are clever people. They get by the guards with silly tricks to fool regular expression-type filters (! for an i, penjis for you know, etc.). Generally interesting workarounds to common filtering tricks.

But, the spam box has become immense lately. Despite setting my preferences to dump it after 7 days, it gets 400+ strong at times. And, I don't want it dumped immediately, about 1/100 real messages find their way in there that I need. So, I tried an expt. and am retrying it.

I'll set my preferences to dump the Bulk (spam) folder every 7 days. I'll peruse the Subject line daily to see if anything in there is actually something I need and simply mark it as "not spam" (when opened) and basically disregard the remainder of the Bulk folder resisting the temptation to "empty" it every day. (The other trick spammers have been using is resetting their dates of delivery. I have messages that have dates of 2008, but apparently Yahoo! knows when it was delivered and uses that date for dumping purposes.)

My hypothesis is: If little in the Bulk folder gets read over time, it will max out in about a week, achieve steady state for a while and then drop to nil. OR, will it keep getting pelted? I'll start the experiment today and monitor the bulk folder by date:

Day, Bulk Messages
01, 00 (reset, dumped Bulk)
02, 21
03, 55
04, 87
05, 119
06, 150
07, 189
08, 219 (auto-dumping should start soon, no "real" messages crept in yet either)
09, 257
10, 238 (auto-dumping has commenced)
11, 263
12, 289
13, 330
14, 230
15, 259
16, 283
17, 236
18, 264
19, 288
20, 328
21, 239
22, 268
23, 295
24, 214
25, 243
26, 281
27, 318
28, 214
29, 230
30, 261
31, 214
32, 249
33, 287
34, 331
35, 368 (2/17/07)


tallasiandude said...

I expect that your folder will continue to be filled, but I nevertheless appreciate you doing the experiment. I love this kind of statistics gathering, but often lose track of the accounting at some point.

Dave said...

I have a feeling it will plateau for some time and then begin to drop. We'll see ...