How much spam you get may depend on the first letter in your e-mail address.

The analysis was carried out by University of Cambridge computer scientist Dr Richard Clayton, in a bid to understand the widely noted discrepancies in the amounts of junk mail or spam that different people receive.

Dr Clayton took as his dataset the 550 million e-mail messages sent to customers of net service Demon between 1 February and 27 March 2008.

Looking at the mix of messages landing in inboxes, Dr Clayton found a wide discrepancy in the amounts of junk that different addresses received which seemed to hinge on their initial letters.

The most popular letters for spammers were "A", "M", "S", "R" and "P". about 40% of all the messages arriving in the e-mail inboxes of accounts with addresses that had one of those characters as their first letter were junk. Much less popular were "Q", "Z" and "Y". For these cases, spam was running at about 20% or less.

The reason for the difference could be partly explained, said Dr Clayton, by the way that spammers generate e-mail addresses to which they then send junk messages.
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