Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred Eighty-Six E-mail Ads Per Day
Some alternate thoughts about unsolicited e-mail advertising

Who comes up with these wild figures, anyway? Is this a scare tactic? Why the exaggeration? Let's face it, e-mail ads aren't that bad. Not even an anti-advertising extremist would even pretend to be getting thousands of e-mailed advertisements per day.

Today's spammers aren't representative of advertisers. People object to the pornography and scams and chain letters propagated by today's spammers on general principle. There is no such disdain of the advertising of products and services which have real value to the consumer, at least not among the majority of consumers. And real advertisers don't spew and shotgun all over creation; they target their mailings to reach likely prospects, not random samplings of humanity.

It's time to look at some conservative situations, and come up with some reasonable numbers.

There are 23,700,000 businesses1 in the United States alone. But we know that a lot of those businesses will not do much unsolicited e-mail advertising; lots of these companies make items or render services that the general public simply does not want, such as boilers, ships, train coach wheels, etc. So for purposes of our computation, we'll say that only sixty percent of those businesses will advertise using unsolicited e-mail; that's a much more reasonable number. These businesses want to be in the consumer's sights often, but not unreasonably so. Let's say twice per week is a good cycle to get and keep the reader's attention without nagging.


No. of companies.................    14,220,000
Mailings per year per address....           104
Total e-mails per address........ 1,478,880,000
Divide by days per year..........           365.24
Total e-mails per address             4,049,063 per day

We must be missing something. Aha! Only fourteen percent of all U.S. businesses are on the Internet now anyway; I read that somewhere. We'll work with half that, seven percent of all U.S. businesses, and let someone else worry about growth. And let's cut down to twice a month.

Second Evaluation

No. of companies.................     1,659,000
Mailings per year per address....            24
Total e-mails per address........    39,816,000
Divide by days per year..........           365.24
Total e-mails per address               109,013 per day

This is frustrating. All right, we prohibit 99% of businesses from using unsolicited advertising e-mail by law. And no matter how many products General Motors or Sears or Wal-Mart or Safeway has to sell, no business can send more than one e-mail per month to any address. Naturally, since mail from businesses outside the U.S.A. would inflate this figure, that has to be regulated by U.S. law as well.

Final Evaluation

No. of companies.................       237,000
Mailings per year per address....            12
Total e-mails per address........     2,844,000
Divide by days per year..........           365.24
Total e-mails per address                 7,786 per day

That's about as far as we can go. We'll have enough trouble choosing the one percent that are allowed to use e-mail marketing, much less telling ninety-nine percent of all businesses that they can't use it. There will have to be a law to make sure no company sends more than one ad per address per month; leaving an expensive mailing system idle most of every month makes no business sense, so businesses aren't likely to do so on their own initiative.

Next    Home

Note 1:   "In 2003, there were approximately 23.7 million businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates." Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Frequently Asked Questions.