Tom Spring at PC World had this to say:
Spam Drives Instant Messaging
In 2005, people tired of missing one valid e-mail in a haystack of spam will turn to instant messaging services from AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo as an alternative to e-mail. It’s already very popular to chat about both important and inane things on IM. But 2005 will be the year that IM will widely supplant e-mail.
Supporting this trend is the wide adoption of always-on broadband accounts. People will leave their IM software active and use messaging clients to have hybrid phone and text conversations. The result will be fewer long-distance charges and less reliance on e-mail (and exposure to spam).
Adoption of AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger will also be accelerated by the capability to archive and retrieve chat sessions. You can already store records of sessions, but doing so will get easier with features inside desktop search tools. For example, Microsoft’s MSN Toolbar Suite automatically keeps searchable logs of chats.
I agree 100%. Spam is killing the usefulness of SMTP based email and there is no relief in sight. I find myself using IM more and more for all my communication needs.
IM puts me back in charge of who can send me messages. A position I haven’t been in with SMTP based email for several years.