How to Stop Email Marketing From Becoming a Four-Letter Word

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

The Register of Known Spam Operations (ROSKO), compiled by Spamhaus

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.

Once upon a time, Spam was known as a debatably inoffensive Hormel pork product--until a Monty Python sketch heaped on it connotations of unwarranted repetitiveness. The unwarranted repetitiveness of the word "Spam" in this sketch mirrored that of unsolicited bulk email. Thus, the term Email (or Internet) spam was born.

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

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."

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 essential email marketing solutions in place,, messages sent with email marketing software to can still turn into spam, and marketers with the most benign intentions could overlook the complaints and be automatically fined--or worse, slapped with a million dollar lawsuit.

This problem most likely happens more than people assume. And more small business owners need to be made aware of their responsibility to guard against spam threats.

In addition to choosing a reputable service provider, email marketers should practice the following:

1. Do not assume that your email marketing software provider will take care of spam for you
2. Make sure that your provider is CAN-SPAM compliant.
3. Ensure that the provider will immediately shut down spamming domains, even if they aren't yours. Your site could get terminated if another marketer on your server is spamming.
4. Ensure that there are multiple means to opt in.
5. Know that you are still responsible for spam when changing servers/service providers. Your site can only be terminated by the registrar/where the domain was registered.
6. Do not buy mailing lists. Some email marketing companies, such as Constant Contact and iContact will terminate your service if you do this.
7. Help educate people on the differences/what they can do

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

The best action email marketers can take to protect their email efforts against spam threats is to strive to humanize the Net. Personalize emails and show creativity. And after all, use humor to appeal to clients. Remember, bots can't laugh.

For additional information regarding online email marketing services, visit 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
(512) 448-9031

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Leo Welder
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