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Tips on How to Stop Email Marketing from Becoming Spam from Zilker Ventures, LLC

Submitted by admin on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 09:48

Email marketers must make more effort to send legitimate email in light of the recent indictment by a federal grand jury of notorious "Spam King" Alan Ralsky.

Austin, Texas (PRWEB) May 25, 2008 — If prompted, most people will have difficulty differentiating between email marketing and spam. As the lines blur and between spam and legitimate email, online marketers will need to become well versed in the differences and cautious in their marketing strategies if they are to succeed.

The history of spam can be traced to an unlikely source–Monty Python. Once upon a time, Spam was known as a debatably harmless Hormel pork product–until a Monty Python sketch heaped on it connotations of unwarranted repetitiveness. The grating repetitiveness of the word "Spam" in this sketch resembled that of unsolicited bulk email. Thus, the term Email (or Internet) spam was born.

Though the sketch has a purely comedic aim, it also serves to remind everyone of the ways that Internet spam, or simply "spam", differs from the term "Email marketing".

According to The Spamhaus Project, "[a] message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk. Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content."

Essentially, spam is associated with repeatedly violating consumer trust through non consensual, mass mailings–to most, an underhanded and despicable way of doing business and a loathsome little word.

Today, spammers have merged with an underworld realm populated by pornographers and drug lords (60-70% of spam is pornography and illegal prescription drug offers). Theirs is a world of global crime rings on off-shore servers, of spam gangs and illicit Internet transactions.

Email marketing, on the other hand, is simply a means of communicating via email to past, current or future customers with the aim of strengthening merchant/customer relationships. Many of the leading email marketing software providers employ consumer security methods such as opt-in (sign-up) forms, double opt-in (usually in the form of a verification email), and clearly marked Subscribe and Unsubscribe links (either in the email or on the site itself).

But even with these recent privacy guards, it is still possible for messages sent with email marketing software to turn into spam, and marketers with the most benign intentions could wind up on spammer blacklists–or worse, slapped with a million dollar lawsuit.

This scenario most likely happens more than people think. Many small business owners who sign up for an email marketing tools plan are not aware of accountability issues facing them when it comes to spam. In addition to choosing a reputable email marketing company, email marketers should observe these guidelines:

  1. Do not assume that any email marketing software provider will take care of spam.
  2. Make sure that the provider is CAN-SPAM compliant.
  3. Make sure that the provider will immediately terminate spamming domains, even if they are somebody else's domains. A harmless site could get shut down if someone sharing server space is spamming.
  4. Make sure there are multiple ways to opt in.
  5. Accept sole responsibility for switching servers/service providers. The only person who can shut down the site is the registrar/where the domain was registered.
  6. Do not purchase mailing lists. Some email newsletter services, such as Constant Contact and iContact will terminate the service for doing so.
  7. Help educate people on the differences/what they can do to stop spam.

Like the Vikings in the Monty Python sketch, brainless bots repeatedly spam. Like the waitress who offers Lobster Thermidor a Crevette, spammers can shroud the diabolical intentions (the spam) behind an innocuous subject line.

The best action online marketers can take to protect their email marketing efforts against spam threats is to strive to humanize the Net through personalization of email content and through appeals to emotion, such as humor. After all, bots can't laugh.

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For additional information regarding email marketing software, visit www.email-marketing-options.com.

Zilker Ventures, LLC is a web publisher that consolidates information and reviews various business and financial products.

Contact:
Jennifer Silva
Zilker Ventures, LLC
pr@zilkerventures.com
(512) 448-9031

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