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October 1, 2003
The End of the Web as We Know It
David Hornik from the RVC Softedge conference sees the death of email as a sea change, the end of the web as we know it
...According to this scientist, SoBig and other spam bots, which he argues were designed to overwhelm spam filtering software, have so confounded AOL's email infrastructure that it has left the future of email in jeopardy. The volume of spam being sent by these autonomous spambots around the web is so great that, according to the scientist, AOL's email infrastructure has been brought to its knees this past Saturday, Monday and again today. As my source told me, AOL was ultimately forced for the first time to call upon others at the key choke-points around the web for assistance in solving this problem -- a problem which led the head of AOL's infrastructure group to state "the walls are falling in around us."
Just how bad is it? According to my source "it is the end of the Web as we know it." Despite massive efforts to trace SoBig and its progeny back to their source and to unravel the code necessary to turn these spam machines off, neither AOL nor other interested parties around the web have had any success and may never. If that is the case, the sheer volume of spam as a percentage of overall Internet traffic will make untrusted email communications completely unviable as a form of communication. Spam filters will necessarily be overwhelmed but email traffic without those filters will be impossibly unmanageable and therefore useless.
...It will also have a serious impact upon the world of Venture Capital. Innumerable businesses upon which we are pitched each day and hundreds of which we have all funded are premised upon the viability of email as a communication tool (be it for knowledge management, collaboration, etc.). While a new frontier of trusted web communications will undoubtedly create numerous opportunities for technology funding, it will also leave a whole world of technology orphaned. Like any fundamental shift in technology infrastructure, this could leave a path of corporate roadkill in its wake.
Yes, email is dead
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