Netizens learning to tolerate spam - study

Part of the fabric of life

The amount of spam reaching Netizen inboxes is still on the rise, yet fewer people are offended by it than were a year ago, a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found.

The results indicate that 53 per cent of email users say spam has made them less trusting of email, compared to 62 per cent a year ago; that 22 per cent of email users say that spam has reduced their overall use of email, compared to 29 per cent a year ago; and that 67 per cent of email users say spam has made being online unpleasant or annoying, compared to 77 per cent a year ago.

There has been a modest, but statistically significant, increase in spam volume since the Can-Spam Act came into effect a year ago, a detail that should surprise no one.

The public's frustration with spam appears to have peaked in 2004, and has been declining since. The decrease from 2004 to 2005 corresponds with the increase between 2003 and 2004. Additionally, the survey finds that users are somewhat less likely to take action to reduce spam than they were a year ago.

Not surprisingly, younger people and Netizen newbies are less likely to be bothered by spam than older people and internet veterans. As one would expect, younger people are also more likely to respond to spam, and to be defrauded.

Spam content is changing as well. A year ago, porn was king, but now, phishing attacks are all the rage. Thirty-five per cent of users surveyed said that they had received a request for financial details, and of those respondents, two per cent admitted to having provided the information. ®

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