News: Hanging’s Too Good For Spammers, Says Joe Public

By | July 17, 2003
 Just when you thought there was nothing more to say about spam, someone goes and says something. This time it’s the turn of Harris Interactive, which has conducted two polls. (Neither seem to be on their website at the time of posting this.) Their conclusions?
  • 80% of online adults (whatever that means) now favor making mass-spamming illegal. Only 10% oppose doing so.
  • On average people online estimate that they receive more than 40 emails a day, including those at home, work or at other locations, and that 40% of these emails are spam.
  • The types of email which annoy the most people a lot are pornography (86%), mortgages and loans (71%), prescription drugs such as Viagra (60%), and investments (59%). Many, but fewer people, are annoyed a lot by spam selling real estate (51%), software (36%) and computer and other hardware (31%).
All that makes sense. But there are paradoxes. Those who favor making spamming illegal have increased (from 74% last December to 79% now). But those who find spamming very annoying have declined from 80% last year to 64% now, and somewhat fewer people (but still substantial majorities) are annoyed a lot by the main types of spam. Harris reckons that “while people may have become more efficient at identifying and deleting spam, this has not in any way reduced their desire to eliminate or reduce it”. That, or people are getting used to spam.

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