Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

29% of Internet users have bought something from their spam

29% of Internet users have bought something from their spam

  • Comments 6

An article on Directmag reports the following:

Twenty nine percent of Internet users have purchased goods from spam emails, according to recent research by online security company Marshal.

The most commonly purchased items include sexual enhancement pills, software, adult material and luxury items such as watches, jewelry and clothing, according to the UK-based firm.

The types of stuff being bought by people sounds reasonable because it corresponds to the amount of spam that our filters see and the number of spam rules we create.  But 29% of people buy stuff from their spam?  Really?  29%?  That seems a little high.

That's a little more than 1 out of 4 people.  Now, I've never bought anything from my spam, and I can name at least 40 other people who haven't, either.  That's not very telling, of course.  My circle of friends is not a random sample.  On the other other hand, Lee Mathews of Download squad reports the following:

Here's the kicker: the survey only involved 600 people. Is it worse that about 180 of those people bought products from spam, or that media outlets are willing to jump all over a statistic that comes from a sampling of less than .0001% of the roughly 360 million people currently using the internet?

The implication here is that the sample size is too small to be representative of the population at large.  But is it true?  If you go to this sample size confidence interval calculator, given a population of 300 million internet users, and assuming that this survey is a random sample, the actual proportion of internet users who have bought spam stuff is 29% ± 4%, or, we can be 95% sure that somewhere between 25%-34% of all internet users have bought something that spammers have advertised for them.

29% is entirely plausible given the sample size and mapping it to the rest of the population, but something to me suggests that the sample was not random.  I simply find it hard to believe that many people buy stuff from their spam folders.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 6 and 4 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • PingBack from http://hoursfunnywallpaper.cn/?p=2807

  • "I simply find it hard to believe that many people buy stuff from their spam folders."

    That's a non-sequitur.  The article said that 29% of people bought something from spam.

    Here are some of the differences between spam folders and spam:

    (1)  Some people use ISPs that don't provide spam filtering.

    (2)  Some ISPs that provide spam filtering still let some spam go into inboxes.

    (3)  Some people who use ISPs that provide spam filtering can't afford the connection time to use an ordinary browser, check the contents of their spam box, and mark spams as spam.  (One thing that Outlook Express does almost right is that it can upload, download, and disconnect when it's finished.  In order to cooperate with a partial anti-spamming practice of some ISPs, I wish it would do downloading before uploading.  But anyway, it knows how to avoid wasting connection time.)

    Now, do 29% of people buy something from spam that reached their inbox?  May be.  Just like in the old days when enough recipients of bulk postal mail bought something advertised in bulk postal mail so that the advertisers continued sending it.  Of course the big difference was that with bulk postal mail the senders paid for the postage, whereas with spam the recipients pay for connection time to download it.

  • Yeah, or maybe they sent out a spam mail asking people to participate, which would skew the sample a little.....

  • Clearly, what the relevant authorities have to do is hunt these people down and er, end their worldly troubles. With extreme prejudice.

    This would have two benefits: 1) it would drain the swamp, depriving spammers of their reason for existing, and 2) it would be performing a service for the gene pool, by removing some people from it who are clearly a waste of oxygen.

    Some people would say this is a somewhat extreme step, but obviously it's worth it to keep my inbox (etc.) free of crap aimed at pathetic morons.

  • hi,

     well I am shocked how can Internet users purchased goods from spam emails??I gathered some info from a tech blog where i read about <A HREF="http://abaca.com/">Abaca’s</A>

    ReceiverNet service which has 99% efficiency in blocking spam mails and they guarantee their results.

  • hi,

     well I am shocked how can Internet users purchased goods from spam emails??I gathered some info from a tech blog where i read about http://www.abaca.com/

    ReceiverNet service which has 99% efficiency in blocking spam mails and they guarantee their results.

Page 1 of 1 (6 items)