Holiday spam a potential problem?

During the past six months, starting in July, the amount of spam we have seen over our networks has doubled.  There is the possibility that the increase has been due to signing up new customers but I tend to suspect that it probably has more to do with spammers blasting us with more and more spam.

Recently, there has been a concern that there is going to be an increase in spam as the holidays occur.  We are still three weeks away from Christmas (is that all?) but I decided to test this theory.  Intuitively, it makes sense; spammers want to profit from the Christmas rush so they will intensify their spam drives.

To measure this, I calculated our total weekly % change in spam volume.  The results are below:

3-Jul-06 -5.42%
10-Jul-06 -7.77%
17-Jul-06 10.40%
31-Jul-06 10.85%
7-Aug-06 3.67%
14-Aug-06 11.30%
21-Aug-06 -2.37%
28-Aug-06 5.74%
4-Sep-06 4.67%
11-Sep-06 -16.06%
18-Sep-06 21.71%
25-Sep-06 -13.14%
2-Oct-06 14.63%
9-Oct-06 14.97%
16-Oct-06 8.89%
23-Oct-06 1.78%
30-Oct-06 13.65%
6-Nov-06 0.41%
13-Nov-06 -0.03%
20-Nov-06 1.82%
27-Nov-06 5.84%


Note that there is a steady increase in the increase in spam starting the week beginning October 2 and it keeps going towards the end of the month.  In fact, with occassional blips (especially in mid-September) we see a constant increase of spam until we get to November.  During the month of November the level of spam seems to have levelled off (except at the very last week).  I find this quite an interesting phenomenon.  We are not yet seeing an increase in the amount of holiday spam that we were fearing earlier.

I have two theories on this:

  1. Holiday spam is on the way but it has not yet hit us.  When it does hit, I'd expect it to be watch spam (ie, fake Rolexes).
  2. Holiday spam is not coming.  Most spam is image-only stock spam, and perhaps spammers think that the holidays are not a good time of year to pump stock spam because nobody is paying attention.
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