July 18, 2003 10:40 AM PDT

Is spam here to stay?

Is spam becoming just another annoying fact of life for most people, like congested freeways or telemarketing calls during dinner?

Yes, according to a new Harris Interactive study.

Harris researchers found that fewer people are rating spam as "very annoying." Just 64 percent said so in the company's latest study, a decline from 80 percent in December of last year.

The study, released this week, is the result of two polls of U.S. adults who are online, one that surveyed 3,462 people between May 19 and May 27 of this year, and another that surveyed 655 people between June 10 and June 15.

In the study, author Humphrey Taylor said people may find spam less annoying because they're better equipped to deal with it. "While people may have become more efficient at identifying and deleting spam, this has not in any way reduced their desire to eliminate or reduce it," he wrote.

Although people may be starting to view spam as just one more irritation in their day, they're not necessarily becoming complacent about it. More people than ever hope to render unwanted bulk e-mail illegal. A full 79 percent of respondents said they support legislation outlawing spam, up from 74 percent who said so last December.

Several bills that would restrict spam are moving through Congress, with varying degrees of success.

Respondents said spam accounted for about 40 percent of their e-mail. Some other studies have pegged that figure at more than half. Porn topped the list of annoying spam, followed by messages offering mortgages and prescriptions such as Viagra. Just 31 percent of the people surveyed said they found spam touting computer and hardware products annoying.

 

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