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I have an ongoing experiment in which I never empty my Spam folder in Gmail. On the left side of the screen, when I log in, I can see how many spam messages I have. Gmail automatically deletes spam messages over thirty days old, so this is an accurate representation of how many spam messages I get in a given thirty-day period.

Spam Count

When I first started using Gmail, my spam folder grew quickly to contain over five hundred spam messages! But over the last several months, my spam count has slowly dwindled to 150.

Why? I can’t pinpoint the reason other than maybe spammers are concluding it’s less effective than it used to be. I mean, just about everybody heavily filters their email these days; the liklihood of a spam message getting through to most inboxes is dismal I think. Is this the beginning of the end? Have we reached and passed the spike in spam history?

Not that I think spam will ever completely go away, but it’s possible it’s declining a bit and will level off at some bearable point.

What about you? Have you noticed less or more spam in your email?

Update 08/02/2006: My spam count has grown to nearly 250 over the last month and a half. I guess it was a fluke.

Update 12/12/2006: My spam count is now over 1000! So much for my less spam theory.




  1. Back when you first posted this, I decided to do the same thing. I typically emptied it at least once a day, sometimes more.

    It has now been over 30 days – I looked back to the end of the spam folder, and I don’t have anything over 30 days old.

    At this present time, 8/3/2006 at 11:26 AM central time, I have 1323 unread messages in that folder.


  2. That’s a lot of spam. I bet you’re thankful for Gmail’s awesome filtering!

  3. Why yes I am.

  4. I do the same thing, I don’t empty my gmail spam folder, and at this point I’m not really marking any new mail as spam, just deleting stuff when I get it, and my Spam folder currently has 13,171 conversations in it. Yeah that’s right, about: 439/day or 1 new one every 3 minutes and 17 seconds. Oy!

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