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Until a few years ago Spam referred only to the (mass-) distribution of unsolicited emails to recipients.

In recent times this definition has to be extended to several different forms of Spam like

  • blog spamming and forum spamming (posting useless or automated messages in blogs, blog comments or forums just to get one’s link displayed),

  • keyword  spamming (stuffing keywords into content without sense other than to pretend to the search engines a high relevance while the content is rendered almost unreadable or senseless for every human visitor),

  • article spamming (auto-generating lots of “keyword rich” but otherwise useless articles for websites and article directories to get a better search engine ranking),

  • pop-up  spamming and others.

Certainly the creativity of some “Internet marketers” will provide us with more and new forms of Spam in the future.

The common denominator of all spamming could be said to be the attempt to force one’s message on to as many people as possible without the willingness to undergo the effort of getting them into communication first by doing something useful for them so they then agree to listen on a self determined basis.

As Spam has become such an important issue it is very important for every Internet marketer to know the rules. Only becoming a Spam suspect may be enough to be put out of business, get blacklisted or the domain banned with the result of loss of income. And as since 2003 a email spammer can even be sent to jail per the CAN-Spam act the following don’ts of email marketing should be paid attention to:

  • Don’t send marketing mails to people who did not expressly give their permission, that is who opted-in or even better double opted-in.

  • If you should have to send an email to a person without having gotten his permission first, make sure your mail can be recognized as a personal message specifically to him, not a bulkmailing. E.g. when you would like to build a business relation to the webmaster of another website tell him what you like about his site and show him that you actually visited it.

  • If you should consider to buy leads , i.e. email addresses of people who opted-in somewhere else make sure you purchase them from a reliable company, not some crook who gathered these addresses without consent. Even if it is a legitimate list of leads still some percentage of your recipients will complain of Spam.

  • Always remind the recipients of your mails that they did opt in and when that was. E.g. “You receive this message as a subscriber to my xyz-newsletter”

  • Always make it easy for the recipient to refuse further mailings to him or to unsubscribe from your list by including an unsubscribe link in your email.

  • Try to build a relation the subscribers of your list before you sell them something.

[The origin of the word Spam in this context is a famous 3 minutes sketch of the British comedy group Monty Python from 1970 about a couple trying to order breakfast in a pub and every available dish includes “Spam” (a brand for some canned meat). The waitress and other guests try to convince the couple despite their unwillingness to take Spam by uttering or singing it over 130 times in this 3 minutes sketch]




Recommended Resource:

  • To avoid being plagued by spam and have one’s email inbox flooded with spam mails Spam Arrest  has proven a useful tool.


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