Sixty-eight percent of service providers say outbound spam costs them up to $100,000 per year, according to a research study by industry analyst firm Osterman Research and Commtouch.
The study surveyed ISPs, hosting providers, managed service providers and Internet portals around the world, asking specific questions regarding spam and scam email messages generated from within their networks. Exploitation of service providers' networks to send unsolicited email can lead to customer loss, operational cost increases, brand damage and even potential lawsuits.
 "The results of our research pinpoint a growing challenge in the industry that service providers need to protect against spammers who aim to abuse their networks," said Michael Osterman, president and founder of Osterman Research. "Outbound spam is a rising concern, and it is essential that service providers deal with the issue in order to protect their businesses."
Some key findings from the research include:
68 percent of service providers say outbound spam costs them up to $100,000 per year;
  • 4 percent said it is costing them more than $250,000 per year. Costs due to outbound spam include such things as IT helpdesk and anti-abuse team time.
  • Almost 40 percent of respondents have had their IP addresses listed on Real Time Blackhole Lists (RBLs) in the past 12 months alone. RBLs are published lists of the addresses of computers or networks known to be sending out spam.
  • A service provider may be "blacklisted" as a result of outbound spam, and thus have its customers' legitimate email blocked by other service providers.
  • Nearly 70 percent of service providers are in the process of evaluating solutions for their outbound spam problem. 50 percent expect to deploy a solution within the next 12 months.