Today is the first Global Anti-Spam Day -- dubbed 'Dump the Junk Day' -- which is being run by Yahoo in the hope of further raising the profile of the worldwide spam problem.
Estimates suggest spam -- or unsolicited bulk email -- costs businesses £5bn per year in lost hours and wasted resources. More than 40 percent of all email traffic is now made up of spam and some industry experts have expressed concerns that the levels may get so high that it becomes unusable as a communications tool.
And the message appears to be filtering through. Stephen Timms, UK e-commerce minister, has thrown his weight behind the campaign. In a statement, Timms said: "Nobody wants an inbox full of irrelevant emails but unfortunately spam is a growing problem the world over. Not only is it a nuisance but it is also eroding people's trust in using email. We want consumers to benefit from the advantages of electronic communications without being bombarded with next-generation junk mail."
"Technology has an important role to play and it is essential that we educate users on how to stop their inbox clogging up with unwanted emails. I applaud initiatives such as Yahoo's Dump the Junk Day that aim to do just that."
"Email has revolutionised the way we communicate -- spam must not be allowed to get in the way," he added.
Among the goals of 'Dump the Junk Day' is educating users. Research released by Yahoo revealed that 56 percent of UK email users are perpetuating the spread of junk mail by replying to it and so clarifying that their email address, generally targeted on a random basis, is indeed valid and in use. It is a mistake guaranteed to attract even more unwanted mail.
Email users are also being encouraged to 'rat on a rat' by reporting the most prolific spammers to firstname.lastname@example.org .