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Men and women view spam differently

Opinion
May 08, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalwareMessaging Apps

* Spam’s impact different for men and women

We have just wrapped up a survey of spam’s impact on e-mail users. We surveyed 196 people, both technical and nontechnical, to determine their attitudes toward spam and how much time they spend dealing with it. A couple of interesting findings came out of the survey when we compared the impact of spam on men and women.

Even when we looked at similar samples, such as men and women protected by some sort of spam-blocking technology, there was a pronounced difference between the two groups.

For example, we found that spam had caused 41% of men to overlook or otherwise miss a legitimate e-mail message at some point, while 38% indicated that spam had not caused them to miss a message.

 Meanwhile, our survey found that spam had caused 56% of women to miss or overlook a legitimate message, while only 23% indicated that spam had not caused them to do so.

In both cases, the remaining 21% did not know if spam had had this effect or not.

Also, while the number of men and women who find spam “extremely annoying” was virtually identical (54% for men, 55% for women), there was a marked difference in attitudes toward sexually oriented spam. While 57% of men find such spam “extremely offensive,” 71% of women consider it so.

In most other respects, however, the survey found little difference in spam’s impact on men vs. the impact on women. For example, the amount of time spent dealing with spam for both groups that are protected by spam blocking, and the number of spam messages read in a typical month, are virtually identical for both groups.

I’d appreciate hearing about your interpretation of the differences we found in this survey. Please drop me a line at mailto:michael@ostermanresearch.com