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David Baxter

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Which Is More Annoying, Spam Or Direct Mail? Study Reveals Answer

You open up your e-mail inbox and are inundated with spam that offers everything from inkjet cartridges to ?investment opportunities? that are obviously too good to be true. You open up your mailbox at home to find more unsolicited ads, everything from pizza coupons to credit card offers.

Ever wonder which is more annoying?

According to a new study by a researcher in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, most people find spam more intrusive and irritating than direct mail. The study, published in the fall issue of the Journal of Interactive Advertising, also explores why people find spam so annoying.

?Overall, spam definitely is regarded as more annoying, irritating and intrusive than postal direct mail,? said Mariko Morimoto, assistant professor of advertising. ?That was pretty much our hypothesis. And while it?s easy to figure out that spam is more annoying, I also wanted to know why.?

Morimoto and study co-author Susan Chang, assistant professor of advertising and public relations at the University of Miami, randomly assigned 119 college students to a survey that asked about either spam or direct mail. On a scale of one to seven, where one is most intrusive and seven is least intrusive, students gave spam an average intrusiveness score of 1.93 compared to 4.24 for direct mail. For irritation, the average score was 2.46 for spam compared to 3.87 for direct mail.

Results from a focus group study conducted by Morimoto and Chang found that people find spam more intrusive than direct mail because it makes it harder to get to legitimate and wanted messages. Discarding direct mail, on the other hand, wasn?t perceived as time consuming.

And while spam often contains adult content or other inappropriate material, direct mail pieces often contain potentially useful items such as sales promotions and easy-to-use coupons. E-mailed coupons must be printed, which is an extra step that consumers would rather not have to take.

Morimoto?s focus group participants also said that the cost associated with direct mail leads them to believe that they?re getting information from a reputable company. Because spam is inexpensive to send, consumers tend view spammers as being less reputable.

Despite the negative feelings associated with spam, Morimoto said it can be effective when used properly. Her focus group work found that people don?t seem to mind receiving e-mails from companies with which they have previously done business.

Morimoto, for example, doesn?t mind e-mailed suggestions from Amazon.com based on previous purchases. E-mails that read, ?Mariko Morimoto, do you need a college degree?? on the other hand, are not welcome.

?If you cultivate your relationship with consumers in some other venue and then extend that effort to e-mails, then spam can work,? she said.
 

just mary

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Another interesting article and kinda fun too. :)

I have to agree, I find SPAM much more annoying than direct mail for the precise reasons this article mentioned. The only thing that bugs me about direct mail is the enormous waste of paper, i.e. trees.

jm
 

foghlaim

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bet david doesn't mind SPAM at all.. lol


and i for me unsolicited or otherwise, spam and direct mail are both anoying. spam more so tho.
T.G. i don't get too much of either.

(T.G. = thank god, just in case anyone is wondering this time lol)
 

Kanadiana

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Spam in my house mailbox only collected and turfed once a day usually, rather quickly, and sometimes there's good stuff in there. Information and sales that I jump on the opportunity, or maybe community news about events or something. Mostly I just turf to recycling without looking for more than personal mail. I still consider putting a "no junk mail" on my mailbox though :D

Email spam is a whole new pain in the heinie, daily, several times daily, fills my mailbox and am always having to look through them to spot my good mail, then take the time to delete the unopened spam. I get frustrated with the time wasted and actions (hands a problem with arthritis) I hate email spam. Unless I've requested email notices from sites I want them from.

Spam in a can I rarely eat but have been known to have enjoy the taste extremely occassionally :)
 

sister-ray

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I find spam more annoying, it invades your privacy more being on the computer, direct mail can be stopped over here if you write to a certain address and you can have more control over it, but spam is another matter people seem to be able to get hold of your email address so easily, one thing I hate is people who ring and try and sell you stuff on the phone that is even worse, Ive done everything to stop them getting my number but they still do, I found out the telephone providers sell numbers to companies even EX directory numbers arent safe!!
 

foghlaim

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The register of electors is available over here for anyone to use in their spamming. There's even companies that specialise in using those records for specific areas.. But i think there is some kind of ban on phone calling except for surveys.
 

sister-ray

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Its available here to Fog but there is something called the mail preference organisation they can stop some of it, but not all, I was horrified some years ago when I found out the electoral register was available to the public, I always thought it was confidential!!! That was years ago when I was a bit naive on that sort of thing:)
 

ThatLady

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The register of electors is available over here for anyone to use in their spamming. There's even companies that specialise in using those records for specific areas.. But i think there is some kind of ban on phone calling except for surveys.


Heh. Yeah, we have a "do not call list" in the US. You can sign up and people are not supposed to call to sell you things. However, "surveys" are allowed. The result is that everybody who wants to sell you something concocts a little "survey" so they can sneak in their real motive for calling. ;)
 

foghlaim

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"The result is that everybody who wants to sell you something concocts a little "survey" so they can sneak in their real motive for calling." :wink:


the backdoor option\loophole.
i usually use my option of saying, sorry i haven't the time.. :) along with where did you get my number. (tis exdirectory). that usually gets 'em off phone quick enuff.
 

Halo

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Unless you are like me who was having an exceptionally bad day once and refused to answer what I thought was another routine "survey" and I stood my ground and would not let them even speak only to find out when I got a letter from the government that it was a mandatory survey being done on behalf of the government for statistics purposes....opps :eek::

The letter actually addressed my unwillingness to participate in the survey :eek: Needlesstosay I complied with the survey the next time they called :)
 

Banned

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Unless you are like me who was having an exceptionally bad day once and refused to answer what I thought was another routine "survey" and I stood my ground and would not let them even speak only to find out when I got a letter from the government that it was a mandatory survey being done on behalf of the government for statistics purposes....opps :eek::

The letter actually addressed my unwillingness to participate in the survey :eek: Needlesstosay I complied with the survey the next time they called :)

Nancy I got one of those letters too! I was threatened under Section whatever of the law that I "must" comply...they stopped calling when after about ten tries I was never home.

I HATE spam email - I get about ten a day and they drive me crazy. At least with spam mail, I can put it right back in the mailbox slot.
 

Halo

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Hey BG,

I am glad to hear that that I am not the only one that got one of those letters.....defiant stubborn people we are :lol:
 
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sister-ray

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Nancy I got one of those letters too! I was threatened under Section whatever of the law that I "must" comply...they stopped calling when after about ten tries I was never home.


It really annoys me when goverment departments tell you that you HAVE to fill things in or you could be fined, you shouldnt have to fill in anything unless you want too!!!
 

HelpingHand

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Sometimes email spam amuses me. Since one of my email addresses is sort of gender neutral, I get spam to enlarge all sorts of body parts!
:lol:

I don't like how paper junk mail kills trees so that irritates me a bit more than email spam.
 

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