Report: 29% of Internet users have purchased from spam

By on August 26, 2008, 5:18 PM
Ever wondered why after so many years, despite CanSpam laws and improved email filters, the volume of spam continues to rise? The answer is quite simple: because it works. At least according to Internet security firm Marshal, which recently released a study that claims 29.1% of web users make purchases as a result of email spam.

The most common items purchased, says the report, are sexual enhancement pills, software, adult material and luxury items such as jewelry and clothing – most of which is either pirated material or brand name knock-offs. For comparison’s sake, it's worth noting that Forrester Research conducted a similar poll four years ago and discovered that 20% had made purchases from spam, so the number appears to be growing.

The rate at which this problem is growing may seem unbelievable, with the volume of unsolicited email supposedly having doubled since last year, and even more so the fact that people are actually bothering to read these emails. But as long as there are those willing to buy, spam emails will keep on coming.

User Comments: 7

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old101 said:
Well, there is one born every day!/
JDoors said:
I really thought users were becoming more sophisticated, but, alas ...
Badfinger said:
I wonder if they are counting emails sent by companies that got the address directly from the user, and then spammed them later.If that is counted, then I am guilty, because I got too good an offer. ;)
nirkon said:
Again, one more exaggerated stat posted here.29.1 percent is almost a third, so almost 1 in every 3 people has purchased from spam. I fail to believe 1 in every 3 people have ever bought something online.
old101 said:
Badfinger and nirkon make a good point, the statistics are probably inflated by responding to e-mails from sites you bought something from, where you either forget to un-tick an e-mail update offer, or left it on deliberately - I do, and have purchased from the same sites more than once.However some real spam is so crude you need to be naive to respond. "I will send you $46 million to deposit in the US bank, of which you can keep 10 %. Only please send me $5,000 to cover the cost of the transfer". Oh, Really?.
JDoors said:
First, the company stating that number is in the U.K., which likely has different online purchasing habits than in the U.S. Second, the number was gleaned from a poll. Asking someone "Did you buy anything from SPAM" leaves the question of "what IS spam" entirely up to the, presumably random, individuals asked. Third, it's not clear what level of expertise the polled users have. Did they only ask users who have no idea how to use e-mail filters? Who knows. However, the products purchased points to SPAM rather than legit sites.
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