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Yahoo! Mail Visualization

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday October 29, 2011 )

Curious about how much mail Yahoo processes a second or the percentage of users in Oceania? Yahoo! Mail Visualization can tell you that and much more.

I’m not much of a fan of tools that go “bing” (apologies to Monty Python and no reference whatsoever to the search engine) or the use of fancy animations where none are really required, but Yahoo Mail Visualization offers enough interesting tidbits of information to make the trip worthwhile.

The tool operates in real-time, showing the throughput achieved by Yahoo’s use of Apache Hadoop technology to help process mail for the 300 million Yahoo! mail users globally. According to the company, its spam filters in conjunction with Hadoop process 1 terabyte of data in under 4 minutes. Yahoo! says the system learns by aggregating anonymous data from the billions of emails processed each day and as a result has helped reduce spam reports by 65%.

At the time of writing the Yahoo! email network was delivering around 38,000 – 46,000 emails a second and blocking 195,000 and 296,000 spam emails a second. At 195k a second, that works out to be 280,800,000 spam emails a day. It’s hard to imagine the tubes of the Interwebs being clogged up by that much gunk – and given how much spam I see in my Yahoo! inbox, the real figure must be far higher.

The Visualize tool also shows trending subject line keywords, both “good” and spam. During the couple of minutes I watched it, the “spam” word that was most persistent was “free” – a point worthwhile noting. Of course, while subject lines, or individual words within, aren’t the only aspect of an email that is considered in determining a spam score and whether it makes it to an inbox or not, it’s just one of those things to be wary of when crafting subject lines.


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