Outbound spam rankings as a proxy for organizational security
Spam as a sneeze for infosec disease

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News 24 July 2014: Anti-Spamming Website Helps Companies Cut Outbound Spam

About this Research Project


July 2015 Rankings: New to LACNIC top 10: #6 ANT-AS , #8 TELESC , #9 ADSIB , #10 Axtel .


Spam and Reputation

Organizations that rank well will want to brag; those that don't will want to change.

This research project illustrates the use of outbound spam rankings to provide organizational reputation that can change the behavior of the ranked organizations. Fifty years of research indicates that this approach should work.

Social comparison theory indicates that people change their behavior when they know how they compare to people they consider similar [Festinger 1954]. Experimental economics research by Apesteguia finds that displaying minimal information regarding individual and group pay-offs and disclosing the pay-off structure in a commons setting induce similar behavior in players in a repeated game [Apesteguia 2006]. We might therefore expect ranked ESPs to care about their relative position even though immediate costs and returns may not be estimated. Milinski et al. alternate rounds of public goods and indirect reciprocity games and find that existence of indirect reciprocity helps maintain very high investment levels in public goods experiments [Milinksi 2002]. Likewise, if we assume that the organizations that are ranked together have other ongoing competitive and cooperative activities, their position in rankings would help induce expected behavior and lead to increased effort towards controlling outbound spam. Chen determined that social comparison theory applies to the Internet [Chen 2010]. Frei demonstrated Internet organizations when compared regarding software patch security changed their behavior [Frei 2010].

For the references and a longer explanation of these ideas, see Internet Reputation Experiments for Better Security.