A new report suggests that spam exists because it is a highly effective way of getting people to buy products.
The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, (MAAWG), interviewed more than 800 computer users in the United States and Canada. The surveyed people were not ‘security experts’ and all of them used email addresses that were not managed by a professional IT department.
More than half of respondents admitted to clicking on “what they felt was spam.” Some of them clicked on the spam by accident, but others wanted to contact the company to ask them to leave them alone. A significant chunk of them were not sure why they clicked on the spam at all.
However what was scary was that 12 percent said they responded to spam because they were “interested in product/service.”
These are the people who keep spam going as a viable form of advertising. Most of them are in the 18-24 age bracket who often click on links to ‘see what will happen’. Those over 65 are less likely to click on the spam, but are more likely to send a stiffly worded letter to the spammers and demand that they are removed from any mailing list.
The report was issued in two parts here and here. It indicates that the international spam problem is primarily caused by users who want bigger sex organs, penny shares, or to help out people in Nigeria free up bank funds for former dictators.