by Diann Daniel

Spam Grows, But Study Finds Users Equipped to Deal

May 25, 20072 mins

Pew study says users less bothered, more ready to deal with ever-rising spam.

At both work and home, e-mail users are getting more spam, but they are less bothered by it, according to a study released on May 23 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The study, which polled 1,405 e-mail users by phone, found that 37 percent of e-mail users said spam had increased in their personal e-mail accounts, up from 28 percent two years ago. At that time, 21 percent said that spam had increased in their work e-mail accounts; today, 29 percent reported that increase.

Yet, just 18 percent of users say spam is a big problem for them, down from the first study’s report of 25 percent in 2003. Users who say spam is no problem for them has risen to 28 percent this year from 16 percent three years ago. And 63 percent of users say that spam makes using e-mail annoying, down from 67 percent in 2005.

What gives?

The study points to two shifts: More ability to handle spam, and a decreased volume of offensive spam. E-mail users have become spam savvy. For example, 71 percent of users use filters to block spam, up from 65 percent two years ago. And fewer than 23 percent say they have clicked on a link within a spam message, down from 33 percent in 2003. Pornographic spam has decreased as well. Fifty-seven percent of e-mail users report having received pornographic e-mail, down from 63 percent in 2005, and 71 percent in 2004.

So what does this mean for e-mail as a whole?

The study reports that spam has not significantly deterred the use of e-mail (only 19 percent report it has); however, 55 percent of users say that spam has made them less trusting of e-mail in general.