It's official: at least 5% of computer users buy goods sold via spam – although the figure is down from 9% last year, it's still more than enough to keep the industry in business. 

This is the result of an online poll run by Sophos in a climate of stepped-up Valentine's Day spam campaigns selling romantic gifts such as jewelry, chocolate and lingerie.
According to Sophos, many of the Valentine's Day themed campaigns make use of graphics embedded in the regular email text. This type of image spam, most often used for promoting stock pump-and-dump scams or medication, is popular with spammers thanks to its ability to bypass anti-spam filters that scan text content only.
Image spam rose by almost 100% during 2006, from 18,5% in January to 35,1% at the end of December.
"Image spam is set to be one of the key spam trends during 2007," says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. Not only does it stand a better chance of reaching recipients' mailboxes, but particularly when marketing visually appealing products, it's a much more effective way of inducing people into making a purchase."