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Spam Costs $712 Per Employee Annually

A survey by Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm suggests that nine out of 10 e-mail users are frustrated with spam and one in 100 "appear to be at the breaking point."

As a luncheon meat, Spam is a bargain. As unsolicited marketing, spam is a rip-off: $712 per employee per year, or $71 billon to all U.S. businesses annually.

That's the cost of spam in terms of lost productivity, according to a survey released Monday by IT research firms Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm.

These figures come from a survey of 849 e-mail users conducted last month that found that two of every three e-mail messages received by businesspeople are spam, despite the fact that 60% of companies filter spam. The survey results are based on a $30-per-hour pay rate, a 2,080-hour work year, 100,249,046 U.S. e-mail-using workers, and that e-mail users are spending 16 seconds on average identifying and deleting spam that has evaded detection and landed in an in-box.

While 16 seconds may seem like an extraordinarily long time to ascertain whether a message titled, say, "DEAR BELOVE FRIEND" or "Attention: Winner" is spam, Rebecca Wettemann, VP of Research of Nucleus Research, said that's the amount of time reported by survey respondents.

It is, surprisingly, a marked decrease in the amount of time Nucleus Research survey respondents wrote off to spam in 2004. That year, e-mail users said it took them 30 seconds to identify and delete spam, putting the annual cost of spam at $1,934 per employee.

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