Users want more tools to slay spam

Even though most email users already rely on antispam tools to keep their inboxes from being overwhelmed by unsolicited messages, they're still not satisfied, a survey reported today.

More than 80% of 2,200 online users polled know about -- and use -- the "Report Spam" features in their email software or within their web based services of choice, said the poll, which was sponsored by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC).

But approximately 90% would like to see an unsubscription tool in their email applications, while about 80% would want a "Report Fraud" button to tag potential phishing messages.

The survey should be discouraging to bulk mailers, whether spammers or legitimate, since it also revealed that 80% of users label a message as junk without opening it. Instead, 73% base their decision on the From line, while nearly as many, 69% rely on the subject.

Overall, users are confident that what ends up in their junk folders is really unwanted mail. More than six out of 10 reported that they rarely or never see messages they've actually requested in their spam folders, while eight out of 10 say that 5% or fewer of legitimate mail winds up in there.

"Users have proven that they understand and use the tools they're given and have expressed a desire for more," said Dave Lewis of StrongMail Systems Inc., a member vendor of ESPC. "It's incumbent on senders and ISPs to come together to put more control in consumers' hands."

According to Symantec Corp., the percentage of all email labeled as spam stayed constant last month at around 70%, down from an 80% spike in mid-January.

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