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Commercial emailers account for 70% of spam complaints, according to [download page] Return Path’s Email Intelligence Report for Q3 2012, released November 2012. 22% of spam complaints stem from other internet service providers (ISPs), 5% from internal email, and just 3% from bots and dynamic IP addresses. Despite sparking 7 in 10 spam complaints, marketing represents just 18% of email volume, and .03% of all unique domains seen by ISPs.

But that still-high volume of email suggests that consumers continue to sign up for email offers and mailing lists, whatever their protests about crowded inboxes. According to a just-released survey by Blue Kangaroo, a whopping 43% of US adults said more than half of new emails in their inboxes came from marketers (including daily deals, retail newsletters, and sales alerts). Still, just 1 in 4 complain that they really dislike all the marketing clutter they get, and 40% claimed to enjoy getting lots of marketing emails from favorite brands and deal services each week.

Return Path surmises that the high number of spam complaints stems from consumers using “this is spam” options than unsubscribing to opt-in emails. Thus subscribers unknowingly do a brand damage, soiling its online reputation and deliverability. Inbox placement in the US was 84% in Q3, which was down about 5% compared to the same period in 2011. Europe has the highest inbox placement at 84%, but it too was down about 5% year over year.

Financial Services Most Trusted, Social Networks Least

For the US, the financial services sector enjoys the highest inbox placement at 99%, followed by the retail and consumer products sectors, at 96% each. Social media has the lowest placement rate, at 72%. Retail placements are up 22% year-over-year, indicating a strong push by retail marketers through opt-in email and high acceptance by consumers. By contrast, social media showed the highest loss by percentage (-14%), suggesting that consumers prefer to log into social networks at their leisure, but do not enjoy being “chased” offline by them.

About The Data: Return Path monitored data from its Email Intelligence Suite for campaigns delivered from July 1 to September 30, 2012, studying inbox, blocking, and filtering rates for more than 315,000 campaigns that used the Inbox Monitor seed list system, in addition to data from a subscriber panel. Return Path reviewed data from 241 ISPs in North America, Central and Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Asia Pacific territories. Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

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