The cost of spam

The cost of spam

A Pew Internet survey finds that spam is starting to hurt email and erode people’s trust in the Internet world. Press Release reads, in part:

“WASHINGTON (October 22, 2003) — The recent explosion of email spam is beginning to take its toll on the Internet world. A new nationwide survey shows that 25% of America’s email users say they are using email less because of spam. Within that group, most say that spam has reduced their overall use of email in a big way.

Further, more than half of email users say that spam has made them less trusting of email in general. One of their fears is that legitimate emails might be turned away by filters designed to stop spam. Another is that they’ll simply miss incoming email from friends, family, or colleagues amid the clutter of spam in their inboxes.

“People just love email, and it really bothers them that spam is ruining such a good thing,” said Deborah Fallows, Senior Research Fellow at the Pew Internet & American Life Project and author of the report. “People resent spam’s intrusions; they are angered by its deceptions; and they are offended by much of the truly disgusting content.”

Here are some other key figures from a national phone survey of 1,380 Internet users conducted by the Pew Internet Project in June. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three points:

* 75% of email users are bothered that they cant stop the flow of spam, no matter what they do
* 70% of email users say spam has made being online unpleasant or annoying.
* 55% of email users say they get so many unwanted email messages in their personal account that it’s hard to get to the ones they want
* 30% of email users are concerned that their filtering devices may block incoming email that is important to them.

Despite their dismay, most Internet users keep the issue of spam in perspective. For them, spam takes its place next to life’s other annoyances, like telemarketing calls. Further, many users believe they know how to behave in a spam-saturated environment. The most popular way of dealing with spam is to simply click “delete.” More than 2/3 have made a more aggressive move, clicking to “remove me” from future mailings, although many voice concern that doing so only leads to more spam.”