Computer users are getting used to spam and no longer regard it as such an issue, according to a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Although two thirds of respondents found spam annoying, this was down from 77 per cent a year ago. As for fears that spam would undermine internet use, 53 per cent of email users indicated that spam has made them less trusting of email, compared to 62 per cent a year ago.
The report also questions a recent report claiming that spam levels are approaching 95 per cent of all email.
"While more users report an increase than a decrease in spam over the past year, the numbers are much more modest than the dramatic increases reported by spam filtering companies," said the report's author, Deborah Fellows, senior research fellow at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
"The differential between the big increases in calculated spam volumes on the internet (an 83 per cent increase reported by MessageLabs) and very modest yet statistically significant increases in spam reported by emailers, suggests that for whatever reason (better filters, more filters, better spam avoidance behaviour by users) not much of that additional spam is making it to users' inboxes."
Fellows added that about half of all users of private and business email reported no change in the volume of spam, and about one in five thought they were getting less.
"Domestic providers like AOL and Hotmail have done a huge amount of work to filter spam," said Paul Wood, chief information security analyst at MessageLabs.
"What people don't see is the spam that's filtered out. Other ISPs have a lesson to learn from that: people will move from email providers that don't protect against spam as standard."
The number of people who actually buy products from spam emails remains steady at seven per cent. This is more than enough to keep the spammers in business, according to the report.
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