Spam hitting ecommerce where it counts

It seems spam (and I will dump phishing into that bucket too), is starting to have an effect on consuumer behaviour. This is not a good thing. According to a report from InternetRetailer.com, GMIPoll (a market research company) surveyed roughly 20,000 online users across the globe about their online shopping habits and the effect spam has on them. The news is not very good.

According to the study, one-third of US respondents said they shopped or would be shopping less online as a result of the proliferation of spam and online frauds. Worldwide, the figure was roughly 20% along the same lines.

I usually proceed to hammer studies like these, calling them statistically insignificant and biased, but in this case I can’t. 20,000 people polled is by no means a poor effort, although I didn’t see how they compiled the data. Furthermore, InternetRetailer caters to a business set they are now delivering some fairly bad news to, and I can’t figure out what they might have to gain by doing so. Even if ER liked the idea of spamming, the previous would still apply.

This are pretty big numbers (1/3rd and 1/5th), and if the hypotheses prove true, it could decimate a significant number of online commerce providers. Technical countermeasures, as much as I love them for keeping my inbox clean, will never overshadow a lack of trust.

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