Users look to ISPs to fight spam
June 16, 1999
by James Niccolai
(IDG) -- Most users think their Internet service provider should help protect them from spam mail, and a significant number will switch to another ISP if it doesn't, according to survey results released Monday from antispam software firm Bright Light Technologies.
The survey, conducted in tandem with IT advisory firm Gartner Group, quizzed 13,000 e-mail users from 300 ISPs mostly in the United States, including America Online, Earthlink Network, Juno Online Services, and Microsoft's MSN.
Almost three-quarters of respondents said they think their ISP should help protect them from spam, defined in the survey as "unsolicited commercial e-mail." Fourteen percent said they think the federal government should provide protection from spam.
Meanwhile, 7 percent of respondents cited spam as their primary reason for switching to another service provider. For an ISP with 1 million customers, that "churn rate" could translate into about $7 million a year in lost revenues, which takes into account the cost of attracting new subscribers, the study found.
"This is a problem that's only getting worse," said Sunil Paul, Bright Light's chief executive officer. "The survey also found that the amount of spam you receive increases the longer you have an account with an ISP."
While Bright Light believes most spam originates in the United States, international users don't escape the problem.
"In many ways spam overseas is an even bigger problem because of the cost of local telephone calls," he said. In the United States, Internet users typically don't pay for the local calls they make to their service provider.
Additional findings from the survey include:
Companies must brace for more customer e-mail
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Bright Light Technologies
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