I'm not familiar with retail trends (which is made obvious by the fact that whenever I buy stocks in the retail sector I lose money) but I have observed an interesting spam phenomenon that has held true in each of 2006, 2007 and 2008. The peak spam season tends to hit in December and then the new year sees a drop off in spam. In fact, April tends to be the lowest month in total for spam.
This year, I am observing a 1/4 decline in the total amount of spam from the peak in February. In 2006, it was about the same, and in 2007 we saw around 20% (but the peak occurred in December 2006). While it is certainly possible to attribute this to chance, I am going out on a limb and saying that this is a trend.
So why do we see less spam at the start of the year as opposed to the end of the year? Here are some theories:
- Law enforcement officials are more aggressive on spammers at the start of the year, knocking out major spammers and/or botnets.
- Software vendors (ie, Microsoft) have all their employees back from Christmas vacation at the start of the year and put out security patches. During the summer, more people are on vacation so development cycles take longer, therefore spammers can react quicker when they find security flaws.
- Spammers go on vacation during the start of the year. Everyone needs a vacation, spammers are no different.
- Consumers are tapped out at the start of the year. January and February are slow in the retail sector after the Christmas rush, and spammers have figured this out. Ergo, not much point to spamming.
Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Is there anything else?