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Email Spam by Accident?

by Dave on February 7, 2011

Don’t be an Email Spammer!

email spamAttention Small Businesses: A sloppy approach to email marketing can ruin your brand, damage your reputation or, in the worse case, kill your ability to conduct business by email. You may be a spammer and not even know it.

We all know the “old” email spam, advertising Viagra or get rich at home schemes, but lately I’ve seen a different kind of spam – sent by legitimate small operations trying to promote their business, but done in a way that is absolutely wrong. Bad subject lines, bad copy, poorly crafted, and not in compliance with the regulations. Most senders appear to be gathering the email addresses themselves, or worse yet, buying a list for their ill-conceived marketing efforts.

Legit or not, it’s still email spam

Doesn’t matter if you are a real business with a real product, if you violate the CAN-SPAM Act, you’re still a spammer. I’m seeing two consistent CAN-SPAM no-no’s

  • There is no existing business relationship – most of them appear to be using “harvested” or generic addresses (info@, admin@, etc.)
  • No unsubscribe mechanism or opt out feature

Worst of all, most of these emails are coming straight out of an email account on their business’ domain. Very few are using an email service provider (which, by the way are set up to stop this very issue from happening)

You’re not going to jail

If you’re doing this you probably aren’t even going to get a fine. But the punishment may end up being worse, especially if you use your business email account to send these messages.

Start sending these messages and people will flag them as spam. Send enough and destination service providers (like Yahoo, Gmail, and big companies) will flag you as a spammer and stop delivering your messages. Want every business contact with a Gmail account not to get your emails? Start sending out SPAM to people @gmail.com.

It can get worse. If someone complains to your service provider or hosting service, you can get your email account shut down. If the problem is bad enough, all your company’s email accounts could get shut down.

Do it Right

Even if you don’t get shut down or shut out, sending email solicitations to people you don’t know puts you in the same class as get rich quick and other shady operations – probably not the association you want. Just don’t do it. Interested in doing it right – read more about The Right Way to Email Market over on the Think Locally Blog.

Photo credit: arnold|inuyaki

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Going Google

by Dave on November 9, 2008

Flashback to 15 or so years ago…..

First came Outlook, bright, shiny, and new. My first email client. It opened a whole new world of communication and suddenly Microsoft had my attention. It wasn’t long before DOS based 1-2-3 was shown the door for the reasonably competent and graphical Excel. It took some time, but not too long, before the less-than-perfect WordPerfect for Windows was eclipsed by a slightly more perfect Word. Microsoft had grabbed a share of my desktop, and it grew. PowerPoint had no equal, and won hands down. Eventually Mosaic/Netscape disappeared in favor of a not so great Internet Explorer – only because so many web sites just didn’t support other browsers (weren’t those the good old days?). Bit by bit, piece by piece, Microsoft had taken over. I never really realized it – there was work to be done.

Then it was déjà vu all over again…..

It started simply with a search engine that was second to none. Eventually I changed all my default to searches Google. And for a time, that seemed all it would be. Sure, I used Feedburner, Adwords and Analytics, but those were “just” services. A year ago I tried Google Reader – but it didn’t stick, migration seemed too hard and I was “stuck” on the Bloglines interface. Two months ago, after another Bloglines meltdown, I bit the bullet and migrated to Google Reader (my page). After a week of getting used to the interface, I haven’t looked back. Google had a foothold.

I’ve had a Yahoo! email account and homepage for years and years – and they had earned a bit of my desktop with their widgets. But they were resource hogs – and my system was stretched to the limit. So where did I go last month? Google. While they don’t match Yahoo’s variety, they were much better on my RAM. I still live on my Yahoo! homepage, but how long before Google offers something irresistible and off I go?

Sometime in the last two months, I set up a Gmail Account. Only using it a little, but it’s there none the less.

In August, I needed a more flexible web tool, and Firefox replaced IE as my default. Still too many sites that don’t work with anything but IE, but that will change too. I haven’t downloaded it yet, but can Chrome be far away? Will I end up with Google Applications?

Why do I have this disturbing feeling that I’m throwing off the yoke of one master and slowly replacing it with another?

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