Another Reason to Hate Spam

The conventional wisdom holds that electronic correspondence is unequivocally better for the environment than snail mail, but a new study finds a surprising result concerning the 62 trillion spam emails sent last year. The energy used to transmit, process, and filter spam could have powered 2.4 million homes, or all the foreclosed homes in the U.S., for a year. (HT: Jeffrey Bladt) [%comments]


Someone should sue them, take the money, and help stop people losing their homes.


And yet another reason to bury the spam meisters under the jail...


This assumes that the servers, infrastructure, etc. accounting for that energy expenditure would not have existed, were it not for the SPAM. I think a more accurate assessment would look only at the computing power used to filter SPAM, or address the effects of unsophisticated users clicking on or through SPAM links.


Is that discounting against idleing time of the same computers??

John Faughnan

Spammers don't pay the costs of course, since they hijack other computers to do t heir work.

So this is best understood as a theft loss.


ugh -- a survey run by an antispam company. 99% of the usage are computers at home that are not "turned off" whist spam is ostensibly filtered elsewhere.


The article says that the energy used could power 2.4 million homes for a year or drive a car 1.6 times around the planet. These numbers make no sense. Assuming that the equator is about 24,000 miles long, and a car gets 30 mpg, it will take 1,280 gallons to fuel the car for 1.6 trips around the globe. At $3 per gallon, thats a cost of $3,840. Does it really only cost about $4000 to power 2.4 million homes for a year?


Dollars isn't a measure of energy.

Try converting to joules.

Sam Smouha

Good spam is never green.


The ABC News link has the numbers wrong by a few orders of magnitude. The first link (and the report itself) mentions that greenhouse gas emissions from spam are the equivalent of driving a car around the world 1.6 million times.


How many homes could be powered by all the energy going into producing junk catalogs and credit card offers through snail mail? All of them?


Spam makes the world go round, would we ever have developed such great highspeed networks had email not driven the demand for more bandwidth? Also most of you guys make no effort at all to protect yourselves from "spam" and will give up your personal email addy at the drop of a dime or for a "free" ringtone. Hell I run an abuse desk for high volume commercial mailer. And I get "spam" complaints from people that are getting recall notices for their vehicle. If you bother to read this do me a favor and go find out the difference between spam and ham