Spam as Personality Test

Reflexion Network Solutions announced the results of its "Spam Personality" survey

WOBURN, Mass. -- Reflexion Network Solutions, a hosted service provider for anti-spam solutions, today announced the results of its “Spam Personality” survey, which examined how people manage spam and what it says about them. Survey findings show that most people receive between 50 and 200 emails per day, and 20 percent reported that 50-74 percent of all incoming email is spam. This demonstrates a loss in productivity for U.S. employers. Ninety-six percent of respondents spend up to one hour each day deleting spam. If the average person works 1,824 hours per year (OECD, 2004) that accounts for up to 12.5 percent lost time.

Stories From the Spam Folder Trenches

The Reflexion Spam Personality survey finds that in an attempt to avoid spam, the average email user maintains three active email accounts. Adding to the spam frustration are filters, which are designed to eliminate only spam, but often block legitimate emails too. Ninety-nine percent of survey respondents reported legitimate email lost to a spam filter each year, and 44 percent lost between 10 and 50 messages! Legitimate emails caught in spam filters can cause serious business and personal problems, and according to respondents, missed messages have resulted in broken relationships, job termination, missed flights and general embarrassment. Mark Hockhousen, Sales Operations Manager at New England Cable News, recalled, “My boss was in NY on some business at the corporate office. He sent me an email stating he needed me to fax some analyses we had done right away or we'd both be let go. The analyses had to do with the profitability of our division justifying its existence. I never got the email and never sent the information, so the division was shut down. The subject of his email - "Fax now or get laid off". Apparently, we could not get email promising to get us laid.”

In addition to spam horror stories, respondents were asked to reveal what strangers would say about their personalities if they met only through their spam folders. Julie Dennehy, founder of Dennehy Public Relations, Inc. said, “I am a working mom who is addicted to Hoodia, Valium, and Viagra who could easily exceed Bill Gates' salary working an side job laundering money for poor widows of royalty of a variety of nations…. I’m just thankful I've got my husband well outfitted with various sexual enhancements and stimulations purchased over the internet. I also am pleased that eBay, Bank of America and other lending institutions check on me regularly to let me know my account has been compromised. Next week I'm going to take my family on a trip with all the money saved from my new low, low mortgage rate of 3.4 percent (variable after 30 days, of course).”

Survey results show that most people ignore spam - 77 percent of respondents reported that spam never motivated them to visit a web site or make a purchase. However, a surprising 22 percent have at least visited a Web site! Even if the spammers don’t succeed in selling their wares, many innocent bystanders get caught up in cases of mistaken spam identity. As Tom Andrix recalled, “The title of the spam message was ‘Check out this photo of my new girlfriend!’ The email was propagated from our pastor’s email account to the entire congregation. Parishioners that opened the email were downright horrified at the content. Needless to say, our pastor had a lot of explaining to do.”

Reflexion Network Solutions

Editors' Choice
Kelly Jackson Higgins 2, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Reading