Most people find spam emails more intrusive and irritating than junk mail landing on their doormat.
A new study by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia found that most people are less irritated by unsolicited junk mail than by spam.
"Spam is definitely regarded as more annoying, irritating and intrusive than postal direct mail," said Mariko Morimoto, assistant professor of advertising at Grady College.
Results from a focus group study conducted by Morimoto and co-author Susan Chang found that people find spam more intrusive than direct mail because it makes it harder to get to legitimate and wanted messages.
Discarding direct mail, on the other hand, was not perceived as time consuming.
Furthermore, while spam often contains adult content or other inappropriate material, direct mail often contain potentially useful items such as sales promotions and coupons.
The study also found that the cost associated with sending direct mail leads people to believe that they are getting information from a reputable company. Because spam is inexpensive to send, consumers tend view spammers as less reputable.
Despite the negative feelings associated with spam, Morimoto said it can be effective when used properly. The research found that people do not seem to mind receiving emails from companies with which they have previously done business.
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