Porn ads slipped down the list of top junk e-mails in 2004, replaced by those hawking online Vioxx prescriptions, ID theft scams and stock pick information, America Online said.
Although “HOT LESBIAN ACTION” made the list of most frequently sent junk e-mails, or spam, lurid displays of pornography are now more easily blocked by filters offered by AOL and other Internet service providers.
Harder to block were the ubiquitous penis enlargement ads that were classified as online medication and not as sex ads. Porn ads were defined as “strictly skin and sex,” an AOL spokesman said.
Spam has also changed considerably and now features deceptively simple text messages and Web addresses that link to sites, according to AOL, the world’s largest Internet service provider and a unit of Time Warner Inc.
Junk e-mail senders have also gotten more sophisticated and are now generally controlled by several top “king pin spammers,” the company said.
“This year’s list was tilted more towards fraudulent and dubious scams and schemes,” said AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham. And despite the decrease in volume, the ads were “much more malicious and harmful to consumers.”