Spam is Dead. Long Live Spam!
By Matt Blumberg
CEO & Chairman
As pointed out in The Register this week, it’s now been exactly two years since Bill Gates declared that Microsoft would eliminate spam in two years.
Hmmm. Let’s think about that. Filters do keep getting better, which Gates predicted. But challenge/response filtering seems to be dead in the water, and the notion that we’re all going to pay for email stamps seems to be toast as well.
So where are we? Spam is certainly more of a nuisance than a true crisis these days, which is even more true today than it was when Bill Gates made his declaration. But it still consumes massive amounts of time, bandwidth, computing power, and mental energy to deal with the problem and reduce its visible impact on end users. And even then, the problems of too much spam and too many false positives (emails which aren’t spam that get filtered by mistake) are still very real. Bottom line — it’s still a business problem with a real, growing market and sub-markets and after-markets for solutions.
With apologies to my many friends and business partners at Microsoft, maybe as is the case with the occasional piece of software, Gates needs to release version 3.0 of his comment before it sticks.
About Matt Blumberg
Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.