By Deane Barker on March 1, 2004

Spam’s irritating cousin, spim, on the loose: I haven’t seen any of this, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

Consumers ditching e-mail for instant messages to avoid spam are in for an unpleasant surprise.

Spim, or instant-messenger spam, is peppering computer screens with increasing frequency. And the problem may get worse as e-mail marketers look for new ways to reach consumers after a federal crackdown on spam.