In May, the Federal Trade Commission held a forum in Washington, D.C., for experts, including PC Magazine technical director Matthew D. Sarrel, to discuss the escalating spam problem. Coinciding with the forum, antispam firm SurfControl released data from a survey it commissioned through research firm Public Opinion Strategies.
What exactly constitutes spam? Of 1,600 respondents, 93 percent defined spam as unsolicited mass e-mail whose subject line is deceptive and whose sender is hidden. But more than half said unsolicited bulk e-mail from companies theyve done business with is not considered spam. "Perhaps users dont mind if the e-mail is truly targeted," says Susan Getgood, a SurfControl senior vice president.
One thing is certain: Something needs to be done about spam. Survey respondents said the spam they receive increased from an average of 56 to 71 messages a week in only four months.