Spam is flooding the Internet and now accounts for 94 percent of all emails. When discussing damage caused by spam, one thing that is rarely mentioned is the amount of time lost every day dealing with it. The old saying “time is money” holds as true as ever, and some simple calculations show that spam could be costing U.S. employers more than $130 million every day.
The U.S. has an active work force of about 144 million. Around 60 percent are in jobs where they get in regular contact with a computer, which for the vast majority means they use email. This gives us 86 million workers that are affected in some form or another by spam.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average hourly salary is $18.21. Based on that, one minute of a worker’s time is worth just over $0.30. This means that for every minute lost for those 86 million workers, $26.1 million goes down the drain. In one year, 260 work days, that amounts to almost $6.8 billion.
However, just one lost minute per day on average is not realistic. Let us assume that the average lost time at work due to spam is five minutes per day. This gives us $130.5 million per day, or $33.9 billion per year.
Note that this is just for lost time. Spam also creates other costs, such as costs for bandwidth, security issues, potential productivity losses, spam filters stopping legitimate emails, and so on.
These numbers are high, but imagine doing this calculation for world-wide costs. The numbers would be absolutely staggering.