TechRepublic and users disagree on the Internet's biggest nuisance

A poll on TechRepublic and asked users to identify the biggest nuisance on the Internet. Find out how IT pros and IT consumers differ in their number one answer to this question.

IT professionals often have to deal with clueless end-users and incompetent managers, but the list of pet peeves goes far beyond just the day-to-day interpersonal communications. The Internet also comes with its own set of nuisances, which is topic of a recent poll posted by TechRepublic's Jason Hiner.

According to the poll results, IT professionals find spyware the most annoying nuisance on the Internet, achieving 36% of the total 505 votes. Spam came in second place, with 30% of the votes, and pop-ups and ugly Web sites were close third and fourth place contenders, as you can see from the graphic in Figure A.

Figure A

Jason also encouraged the poll respondents to participate in a discussion forum, asking members to explain their biggest nuisance and if there was anything else that should be added to the list. Here are some of the responses:

jdclyde: "Spam - because there is almost never a case where a popup occurs anymore without the user choosing to have it popup makes this a non-issue. Spyware - with people moving to FF from IE, there are less spyware programs that can infect your system, so this has been greatly minimized. Ugly Web sites? You choose where you go. If it bothers you, chastise the admin or go somewhere else."

pkr@...: "Silent installs - The worst nuisance is that you must allow things to be installed on your PC, even if it is a cookie. It is _MY_ PC, and I want to control what's put in it. By meticulously registering what happens in Internet temp folders and other places in your system, and especially by selecting non-MS stuff, you can regain some control, but not all."

Neil Higgins: "Trialware, crippleware, crapware products – 30-day testing of free download programs that are mostly useless. Even after spending many a late night uninstalling them, the b*srds are always there, lurking, waiting to pounce."

scatalin@...: "What about phishing?"

b4real@...: "Useless Authentication - My biggest irritant is [having to create] accounts for stupid or truly useless information. I understand if you are going to buy something, but I don't like having to make an account to see the weather or TV schedules... After all, I (and surely many others) put in bogus info so I don't get SPAM or junk mail - so how valuable is the market research?"

TechRepublic's sister site,, recently ran a very similar poll, and the results show an interesting discrepancy between the concerns of the two different target audiences. While TechRepublic caters to professional technologists, CNET is more focused on consumers. The biggest nuisance on the Internet for users was spam, with 26% of the total 7745 votes, while spyware (the top choice in the TechRepublic poll) was second with 23% of the votes. Figure B shows the full results.

Figure B

As you can see from the results from both polls, spyware and spam are agreeably two of the most annoying things on the Internet. Do you agree with your fellow TechRepublic peers that spyware wins the biggest nuisance award? Take the poll, and then join the discussion to add nuisances that we may have missed or to comment on your biggest Internet pet peeve.

Take our poll

What do you consider the biggest nuisance on the Internet?

 Ugly Web sites

About Sonja Thompson

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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