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Pew Internet and American Life Report on Spam

Pew Internet & American Life Project: spam

This report on spam was just released and paints a sobering picture of how Spam is affecting the public's perception of email.

In large numbers, Internet users report that they trust email less and some even use email less because of spam. Why? Users worry that the growing volume of spam is getting in the way of their ability to reliably send and receive email. They complain that it uncontrollably clutters their inboxes and imposes uninvited, deceptive, and often disgustingly offensive messages. Here are the key figures:

25% of email users say the ever-increasing volume of spam has reduced their overall use of email; 60% of that group says spam has reduced their email use in a big way.

52% of email users say spam has made them less trusting of email in general.

70% of email users say spam has made being online unpleasant or annoying.

30% of email users are concerned that their filtering devices may block incoming email.

23% of email users are concerned that their emails to others may be blocked by filtering devices.

75% of email users are bothered that they can’t stop the flow of spam.

80% of email users are bothered by deceptive or dishonest content of spam.

76% of email users are bothered by offensive or obscene content of spam.


Interesting Summary of work email accounts:


44% of work email users receive 10 or fewer emails on a typical day; 11% receive over 50.


40% of email users get no spam at all; about one in ten say at least 60% of their email on a typical day is spam.

40% of email users spend no time at all on spam; 10% spend more than one half hour a day.

34% say it is sometimes hard for them to get to the messages they want to read.


I think we are reaching a peak (or valley) in the battle with spam. I'm a believer in our ability to create smart tools that stem the tide of spam.

I think part of the battle is education. The most viable way to prevent spam is to make it an inviable business model. The survey said that 7% of users had made a purchase as a result of receiving spam. I hope that one day it will be common knowledge to not respond to or buy anything from a spammer.

Pew Internet & American Life Project: Spam