Canadians admit to being stressed by spam e-mails, but can’t resist responding to the junk.

The annual Internet review by Yahoo Canada reports that about one out of three Yahoo e-mail users said they opened spam messages because they had interesting subject lines. Forty-eight per cent of users respond to spam messages by unsubscribing. Others say they respond to the junk messages to give spammers a “piece of their mind.” Two out of five users opened spam messages because they looked like they came from a trusted source.

The website released its Internet year in review Wednesday, reporting that 18 million Canadians (56 per cent of the population) use the Internet monthly, viewing more than 60 billion pages a month. Most users are in Ontario (37.9 per cent). The Atlantic provinces have the least number of users at 6.6 per cent.

Canadians spend more than 37 billion minutes surfing the Internet monthly or an average of more than 34 hours a month or 80 minutes a day. Yahoo reported in another study that 48 per cent of respondents indicated they could not go without the Internet for more than two weeks.

Aside from on-line shopping, banking and booking travel, Internet users are searching for relevant information about names in the news.

For example, the study shows that one of the most popular searches in February was Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction while in October they were reading about Ashlee Simpson’s lip-synching fiasco on Saturday Night Live. In January, users were researching how to lose weight, while in July, they were curious about Mary-Kate Olsen’s weight loss, supposedly linked to an eating disorder. Users mourned the passing of Ronald Reagan in June and Christopher Reeve in October. This month, Internet users are writing to Santa, wondering what his postal code is, and also suffering NHL withdrawal.

In a separate report by Statistics Canada, Internet service providers are benefiting from high on-line use. Statscan said that ISPs turned a profit in 2003 for the first time since in four years.

The majority (74 per cent) of ISP’s revenue came from the provision of Internet access services. 41 per cent of ISP’s revenues came from providing broadband (high-speed access). 30 per cent came from narrowband (dial-up access).

More here.