The distress of Internet users at spam has increased in recent months and growing numbers of Internet users are becoming disillusioned with email, despite the first national anti-spam legislation which went into effect on January 1.
A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project between February 3 and March 1, 2004 shows the following: 29% of email users say they have reduced their overall use of email because of spam. That figure is an increase from last June, when we found that 25% of emailers were reporting a reduction in their email use. 63% of email users said that the influx of spam made them less trusting of email in general. That figure is higher than the 52% of email users who reported declining trust in email in June. 77% of emailers said the flood of spam made the act of being online unpleasant and annoying. That is an increase from the 70% of those who said in June that spam was making online experiences unpleasant and annoying. And, 42% of email users said they were aware that Congress and the Administration had approved anti-spam legislation and that it had gone into effect at the beginning of the year.
The impact of the CAN-SPAM legislation is mixed, but not very encouraging so far. The vast majority of email users report no change in the volume of spam arriving in the in-boxes of either their personal or work-related accounts. A slightly larger percentage of email users report their volume of incoming spam has actually increased rather than decreased since January 1. At the same time, some email users say they are getting less spam both in their personal email accounts and in their work accounts.