Study: Consumers Better at IDing Newsletters From Spam

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Under a deluge of spam the past two years, consumers have gotten better at identifying legitimate e-mail newsletters from unwanted pitches, while also growing less forgiving of newsletters without valued information, a new study found.


In a 280-page study released yesterday, Nielsen Norman Group found that since its first report two years ago, e-mail newsletters were doing a good job of standing out from spam, thanks mostly to consumers' familiarity with spam's characteristics.


The Fremont, CA, research organization studied interactions with e-mail newsletters by consumers in 12 states and five other countries. The study was based on 101 e-mail newsletters.


Nielsen Norman found that consumers want e-mail newsletters that are informative, convenient and timely. Their top complaints were untargeted content, unsolicited newsletters and links to sites with pop-up ads. For those that do not meet their criteria, a majority of respondents said they used their spam filters as a shortcut for unsubscribing.


The use of spam-reporting buttons offered by Internet service providers as a shortcut for unsubscribing has bedeviled e-mail newsletter operators, who can find their e-mail blocked on the basis of the complaints, the report said.


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