Email or SPAM? When do we cross the line?

I apologize upfront today because it seems whenever I update this blog its either to rant or rave about something or announce another website launch, so I’m sorry.

My question today is what are legitimate email and what is spam? The line is very grey between the two these days. (For our purposes here I am not talking about blatant spam for male enhancement products, etc.) I will admit that I have a healthy disdain for spam and spammers. In my younger days when I had much more time to blow on such things I used to track down the servers that were sending the spam and report them and their internet service providers. Now I just vent on blogs.

Everyone has email and everyone gets spam. Some have better spam filters then other but everyone gets it. As a company, it makes sense to stay in contact with your customers offering deals and news about your company. I have no problem with this. What I insist on is the ability to opt out.

Ideally ever company would ONLY email individuals who specifically requested to receive those email. That is not realistic. Most companies send email to their client list all the time without receiving permission. Honestly, I don’t even mind that so much as long as you let me opt out.

You KNOW you are dealing with a shady company when you click their opt out link and it doesn’t resolve to a website or it has some deceptive text to confuse you. Many spammers will include a “opt out” form, but all you do is verify the address is active so they can spam more and then sell their list. ARRGGHH…Did I mention I can’t stand spammers?

Here are a few suggestions if you are going to send email to your customers:

1. Please, please, please make it easy for them to remove themselves. Do you really think someone is going to purchase your product or service if you are annoying them with spam. If you don’t provide a easy opt out tool, I’ll just submit you as a spammer.

2. Don’t email too often or on consecutive days. Spread them out people. Sending me too many email right away makes me want to unsubscribe.

3. Make the content worth while, don’t just send an email because you haven’t sent one in a while. Not every email is going to resonate with ever person on your list, but if you consistently send content that is crap, I’ll unsubscribe.

So is it spam or is it legit? I suppose like so many things it is all in the eye of the beholder. I might consider an email spam. The company who sent that email may legitimately think that they are connecting with me and providing a service. Who knows? Heck with Facebook (+ all the other social sites) who uses email anymore anyway? I may not be able to clearly define what is or is not spam, but I know it when I see it. So to all you spammers and shady companies, I am watching. Keep spamming me and I’ll….I’ll…I’ll write another blog post.

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