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ISPs Need To Overhaul Spam Reporting System, Survey Reveals

The definition of SPAM has changed from the permission-based regulatory definition of "unsolicited commercial email" to a subjective, perception-based definition centered on consumer dissatisfaction, according to a recent survey.

Jointly conducted by Chicago-based Q Interactive and Warren, R.I.-based MarketingSherpa, the survey's goal was to reveal consumers' perceptions of what they consider to be spam, why they report emails as spam and what they think happens when the "report spam" button is clicked.

An overwhelming number of consumers misuse and misunderstand the definition of spam, ultimately hurting legitimate marketers--but also consumers themselves who are seeking the messages they want, but instead are automatically being unsubscribed.

There is confusion among consumers regarding what they believe will happen as a result of clicking the "report spam" button. Over half of respondents (56%) reported it will "filter all email from that sender"--while 21% believe it will notify the sender that the recipient did not find that specific email useful, so the sender will "do a better job of mailing me" in the future. About 47% believe they will be unsubscribed from the list by clicking "report spam."

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