More on Ballmer's Spam Comments -- After my tongue-in-cheek piece about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's claim that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates receives 4 million spam messages per day, two bits of relevant clarification have appeared. First, in an interview with journalist Mike Wendland, Ballmer says he misspoke and Bill Gates actually receives 4 million pieces of spam every year, not every day. Just a slight difference there, but 4 million per year works out to almost 11,000 per day, which is still rather high, if not stratospheric. I could easily see other people receiving more; one TidBITS reader reported receiving about 4,000 per day due to worm-generated spam from the infected computers of other parents and teachers at his kids' school.
Second, although it's entirely likely that spammers don't like Gates and Ballmer and thus are targeting them directly in a sort of a denial-of-service attack, a number of people suggested that a more logical explanation is that lots of Internet users, when asked for an email address in Web forms of questionable legitimacy, enter email@example.com, thus avoiding the privacy concerns of giving their email addresses out, and, shall we say, expressing an opinion. I hadn't considered such a situation, but if lots of people around the Internet do it, that could explain the 11,000 spam messages a day that Gates receives. Lastly, be sure to check out the Joy of Tech cartoon on the whole situation for a trenchant comment. [ACE]