Productivity Costs of Spam


Tim J. Smith, PhD
Founder and CEO, Wiglaf Pricing

Published January 5, 2005

How much does Email Spam affect your company? If your company has 150 computer users making an average salary of seventy five thousand dollars a year the annual cost of receiving 4 spam emails a day is $15,573. (source:

Besides the official site from Hormel discussing a tasty breakfast treat, when typing the word spam in my search engine I received over 34 million pages and at least 10 advertisements for spam, spam info, spam blocking software, anti spam pages, spam spam , and more spam . Similar to the 67 year old canned spicy ham treat Email spam has many varieties. I’m sure you have received a couple of the pitches for products ranging from A to triple X. Time is wasted in receiving, opening, deleting, and maintaining normal spam. What happens when that email is carrying a virus or has other malicious intent?

Spam Is a good resource for information on Spam. There are other Anti-Spam sites as well. , CAUCE lists the common problems with Spam email.

Junk Email / Cost-Shifting / Fraud / Waste of Others’ Resources / Displacement of Normal Email / Annoyance Factor / Ethics

Here is a list of things you shouldn’t do to stop Spam email: Opt-out – It doesn’t work, Internal Filtering Software – Uses up internal resources and can either not work or work to well, Delete It – using up your resources and is a recipe for disaster if you accidentally open an email with a virus, Strike Back – Now you have reduced yourself to the same level as spammers.
What can we do to stop Spam Emails? Block and Tackle! The Best block I can recommend is the Barracuda Networks Spam appliance.

The Tackle: Ohio sends a criminal spam law to the governor

On November 30th, the Ohio legislature sent a new anti-spam bill to the governor who is expected to sign it. HB 383 provides both criminal and civil penalties against anyone who sends spam illegally, including forged message headers, forged domain registration information, routing mail through other people’s computers without permission, and a laundry list of other violations. Criminal penalties include conviction of a felony. Civil penalties are actual damages or the lesser of $25,000 per day or $8/message.

Editors Note

In considering the options for curbing Spam between legislation and technology advances, The Wiglaf Journal supports advances in technology and considers legislation to be a deterent only to mild spammers and errant marketers while leaving serious offenders to developing routes around government enforcement. Legitimate emailers do execute opt-out requests.

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About The Author

Tim J. Smith, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Wiglaf Pricing, an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Economics at DePaul University, and the author of Pricing Done Right (Wiley 2016) and Pricing Strategy (Cengage 2012). At Wiglaf Pricing, Tim leads client engagements. Smith’s popular business book, Pricing Done Right: The Pricing Framework Proven Successful by the World’s Most Profitable Companies, was noted by Dennis Stone, CEO of Overhead Door Corp, as "Essential reading… While many books cover the concepts of pricing, Pricing Done Right goes the additional step of applying the concepts in the real world." Tim’s textbook, Pricing Strategy: Setting Price Levels, Managing Price Discounts, & Establishing Price Structures, has been described by independent reviewers as “the most comprehensive pricing strategy book” on the market. As well as serving as the Academic Advisor to the Professional Pricing Society’s Certified Pricing Professional program, Tim is a member of the American Marketing Association and American Physical Society. He holds a BS in Physics and Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, a BA in Mathematics from Southern Methodist University, a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an MBA with high honors in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Chicago GSB.