Editorial: Do Your Math
Let's head back to math class and take a look at what Ferguson had to say. The formula was created to show the effect "legalization of spam through regulation would have on small business located within the United States and only small businesses and only those located within the United States," he writes. "This does not include corporate America, larger business. This does not include everybody who thinks their chocolate chip cookie recipe is worth selling through e-mail."
Ferguson's formula is (Z[F(ABXY/30)=S])/1024=M, where Z = the average size of the spam; F = the frequency of spam per month; A = the small businesses that filed tax returns in 2002; B = the percentage of these businesses that decide to send spam when made legal by regulation; X = the percentage of lists your e-mail address is on of those that will send spam; Y = the number of e-mail addresses you currently have; S = the number of spams you will receive each day, including weekends; and M = the size of your download of spams per day relative to Z.
"The following are simple illustrations of what could happen as more decide spam is a good idea for their business and start using spam as a marketing tool," he writes. "It is easy to see that e-mail does not scale for the purpose of marketing." (Guess he shouldn't tell that to the companies using the medium quite effectively or their customers who are just as happy.) Ferguson's doomsday scenario was: "F = 4, A = 27,000,000, B = 10%, X = 5% and Y = 4, then S = 18,000 or you will receive 18,000 spam each day. Further if Z = 22KB then M = 386 MB of spam downloaded a day."
Who else needs some aspirin ... or maybe a cookie?