Press Releases

Many Companies Blame Their Own Employees for Rising Tide of Spam

Results of Second Annual Mailshell Anti-Spam Survey Show that IT Managers Have Little Faith in Either Bill Gates or the Federal Government's Efforts to Stop Spam

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 23, 2004 - Does your IT department consider you a spammer? More than 38% of IT managers consider any "internal mass mailing from employees about non-business-related topics" to be spam and 29% indicate that spam is "any email you don't want" according to the second annual Mailshell Anti-Spam Survey, released today by Mailshell, the leading OEM provider of anti-spam software. Last year's survey included responses from more than 1,100 consumers and its results were announced by the Federal Trade Commission at its April spam conference. This year, Mailshell surveyed IT managers at 699 separate companies that use Mailshell anti-spam. Of those surveyed, 119 organizations elected to participate in the survey, a 17% response rate. The survey was conducted online from February 11-17, 2004.

The key findings included:

Summary of Findings

  1. IT managers do not agree on the definition of spam. Despite the Federal government's recent anti-spam law, corporate America's IT managers definitions of spam vary dramatically from lawmakers' definitions. The survey findings were as follows:
  2. Percent Who Agree
    "Which of the following would you define as spam? Please check all that apply."
    Random commercial email promoting pornography, unwanted business opportunities, etc.
    Any email sent by companies with whom you have no prior relationship.
    Chain letters, virus hoaxes, etc. sent to you by someone you know.
    Any unwanted email sent by companies from whom you have never purchased anything before.
    Mass distribution of email you don't want (jokes, political views, fundraisers, etc.) sent by someone you know.
    Internal mass mailing from employees about non-business-related topics.
    Any email you don't want.

  3. Even Microsoft will never figure out how to stop spam. Despite Bill Gates' recent predictions and vast resources, IT managers do not believe Microsoft can solve the problem of spam. 81% of IT managers believe that Microsoft will not ever be able to prevent spam from remaining "a major problem." Some had faith; 16% believe Microsoft's efforts will be successful within five years.

  4. The new federal CAN-SPAM law isn't working. 64% of respondents believe the law has had no impact on the volume of spam their company receives and 22% say the law has had "little" impact. Many were skeptical that the law would help before it had even passed, as 42% of respondents indicate that the law's impact has met their expectations.

  5. Corporate domains are at risk of hijack by spammers. 22% of respondents indicated that their domain and/or corporate email addresses had been used fraudulently by spammers.

  6. Viruses remain a greater risk to corporations than spam. Despite the wild growth of spam, 88% of respondents indicate that viruses remain a greater threat to their network systems than spam. Seven percent of respondents consider the threats comparable.

  7. Companies worry about spam's negative effect on employee morale. 27% of respondents indicated this was the primary factor in their decision to invest in spam-blocking software. Increasing employee productivity was cited as the primary factor by 44% and 23% cited threats to network security as the primary factor.

  8. Employees' personal use of corporate email exacerbates the problem of spam. 85% indicate that more than 50% of their employees use company email for personal uses. 76% believe that this personal use increases their organization's volume of incoming spam and 24% indicated that their organization has disciplined employees for improper use of email.

About Mailshell
Mailshell is the OEM anti-spam leader. The company's products include anti-spam software developer tools and a suite of enterprise and personal anti-spam products. The Mailshell Engine is the only anti-spam solution developed explicitly to integrate spam-blocking technology with common IT components, including security appliances, mail servers, mail clients, anti-virus applications and many others. Mailshell's software has earned an "Editors' Choice" award in PC Magazine's review of spam filters, and has been dubbed "priceless" by Forbes magazine, "excellent" by the Associated Press and "easy to use" by CNET. For more information visit

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