February 3, 2004, 12:00 AM

Spam haters are shopping less online, says a new consumer group survey

Spam haters are an international group and their antipathy goes so deep that a significant number are shopping less online or not at all because they are afraid of receiving more spam, says a survey just out from the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Spam haters are an international group and their antipathy goes so deep that a significant number are shopping less online or not at all because they are afraid of receiving more spam, according to a survey just out from the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, a coalition of 65 consumer organizations from the United States and European Union countries.

The group surveyed 21,102 people from 36 countries and found:
• 52% shop less online or not at all because they`re worried about spam
• 95% either hate spam or say that it annoys them
• 42% report that half of the e-mail they receive is spam
• 84% believe all unsolicited commercial e-mails should be banned
• 83% believe most spam is fraudulent or deceptive
• 62% use a filter, but only 17% say their filters work well.

"What is striking about the survey results is that consumers everywhere have the same concerns about spam and opinions about how it should be dealt with," says Susan Grant, vice president of public policy at the National Consumers League and co-chair of the TACD Internet Working Group. "There are a few cultural differences; for instance, people in the U.S. are twice as likely to complain about spam to their Internet Service Providers or someone else than those in E.U. countries, but there is general agreement that spam is an infringement of one`s privacy."

The group reports that, when given the choice of government doing nothing, allowing opt-out commercial e-mails or allowing only opt-in commercial e-mails, 82% of respondents favored the opt-in approach.

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