Men and Spam

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Companies and ne’er do wells wouldn’t make the effort—and take the legal risk—to send spam if it didn’t work.

Some people must fall for it.

I delete spam e-mail pretty quickly. For that reason, I didn’t notice a trend for a long while. When I did, I noticed that most spam, if specifically targeting anyone, targets men:

  • Hair regrowth

  • Body-part enlargement

  • Prowess improvement

  • Pharmaceuticals to make things possible

Spammers blanket every e-mail address they can get. E-mail addresses don’t tell you much about the receivers. Therefore, what I receive makes up a genuine sample of existing spam—not just what someone chooses to send to me. (From the above list, I’d hope not. I’m female.)

Once upon a time, spammers could assume that men comprised most technology users. Today, women have surpassed men when it comes to some Internet use (particularly social media)—and women equal or better men when it comes to using e-mail.

So does that mean men respond to spam?

Ipsos Public Affairs’s “2010 MAAWG E-mail Security Awareness and Usage Report” found that

“Men are more likely than women not only to open spam (47 percent versus 39 percent), but also to click on links (13 percent versus 8 percent), to click on attachments (10 percent versus 6 percent), and to reply to spam (5 percent versus 3 percent).”

Well, well. Tsk tsk.

Further, Ipsos states that

“Men—who also take more risks sorting through their inbox—are more likely than women to say they open spam purposefully, out of curiosity (21 percent versus 14 percent) or out of interest in their e-mail’s offerings (17 percent versus 13 percent).”

I rest my case.

In numerous places, the Ipsos report states that men expressed greater confidence than women did in their knowledge of what to do with computers and how to keep them secure. Perhaps that’s led to hubris?

Regardless, it keeps spammers in the chips.

Thanks, guys.