As a holiday swell of online shopping and personal email traffic
approaches, a new report released today reveals that consumers are
suffering from an "Email Insecurity Factor" that could undermine the
effectiveness of email communications and transactions.
The study, published by Habeas, found that while the US
population is more dependent on email communications than ever before,
the growing inconvenience of spam, a variety of online security threats
and a lack of confidence in traditional solutions to counter these
annoyances has led to significant levels of consumer insecurity around
email communications. Habeas will discuss these findings in detail
during a November 13, 2007 webinar entitled "Multichannel Revolution:
How Web 2.0 and Online Reputation Changes Strategy and Results."
While 73 percent of study participants use email seven days a week and
61 percent do not believe they can do without email, 62 percent of
respondents acknowledged concerns about becoming victims of fraud or
other kinds of cyber crimes and nearly 60 percent agree that spam is
"This email insecurity factor has serious implications for how both
consumers and businesses trust email for their respective
communications," said Des Cahill, CEO, Habeas. "Despite the popularity,
ubiquity, cost-effectiveness and targeted nature of email, online
relationships and the interactions that enable them are very fragile.
If individuals, marketers, businesses and Web 2.0 communities cannot
place their trust in email, the Internet's premier 'killer app' will
not reach its full potential as these groups could refrain from using
it for higher value interactions."
More than half of participants indicated that they have
responded to this email insecurity factor by using at least two or more
personal email addresses on a regular basis. The study suggests this
multiple identity phenomenon is a result of a lack of confidence in the
measures in place to address consumer concerns.
Around 83 percent of people reported that their email user interface
has a spam button and 23 percent were aware of a fraud mechanism built
in to their email service. Yet, 12 percent were unaware of any security
measures and 64 percent reported that legitimate emails regularly end
up in their spam folders or do not arrive at all.
According to the study, individuals take their protection into their
own hands with multiple email accounts registered to receive emails
based on relationship trust levels. Over 80 percent refuse to unify the
flow of emails to central addresses, suggesting the sentiment that
these compartments of trust must be kept separate to accommodate
consumer comfort levels when communicating online and via mobile email
"Given the ease with which individuals can open email accounts,
sending and receiving emails has become an issue of navigating a
landscape of inboxes set up on the basis of trust," Cahill continued.
"Despite email's advantages of high ROI versus other marketing
channels, organizations must implement best practices in order to
maintain a dialog with increasingly mistrustful and resourceful
individuals. Consumers still want opt-in email offerings from their
favorite brands. Businesses need to reach critical customer, partner,
investor and other audiences. Online communities must maintain
information flows which are the lifeblood of their Web 2.0 value
propositions. The right email compliance and reputation standards can
minimize consumer insecurity and strengthen online interactions and the
commerce they enable."
Market research firm Ipsos, which conducted the study in
September 2007, examined a variety of consumer perceptions on email and
email programs, including the use of work email for personal
activities, security features, use of multiple email accounts,
redirecting email, spam and phishing concerns, unreliable email and the
environmental benefits of email usage.
Habeas will discuss the Email Insecurity Factor, and provide a detailed
report available for download, during the webinar entitled
"Multichannel Revolution, How Web 2.0 and Online Reputation Changes
Strategy and Results;" November 13, 2007 at 11:00 AM PST and 2:00 PM