Did You Just Sucker Punch A Potential Customer

by Bob Poole on February 17, 2010

The growth of SPAM in your in-box is supposed to be flattening out. I thought so too but since December I've seen a large growth of junk coming in here.

The cost to to deal with it is estimated to be over $130 billion worldwide. Estimated U.S. cost is $42 Billion. A number of factors make up the cost including Spam control software and hardware, licensing fees, IT cost, and the greatest – user productivity cost.

There are professional spammers who send out millions of pieces of junk mail, hijack IP addresses, scrape email addresses, and use third-party servers. Sadly, a small number of ISP's are happy to sell their services to spammers at a premium price.

Here is what I don't understand though. People hate spam. For a legitimate business (by that I mean one that isn't engaged in ripping people off) to engage in spam is like personally visiting a potential customer in their home or office and and when they open their door you sucker punch them right in the face.

In the last 5 minutes, I have received spam email from:

  • Netflix – which has become one of the worst offenders in the country
  • File Center Inc. – which wants to offer me a lower price for something I don't use
  • A professional spammer who is selling Viagra at 83% off.
  • A photographer offering some kind of software 
  • And, of course, a letter telling me I keep forgetting to pick up my $16.5 Million in Nigeria

By the end of today the list will grow to hundreds and too many of them will be from small businesses who think it is okay to buy a list of email addresses and then start sending to them. Others will be from people who got a list from a friend who got it from a friend who told them it was okay to email.

Here is the fact. If someone has not specifically told you that you have permission to send them email and you are emailing them – YOU ARE A SPAMMER!

I don't care if they did buy something from you within the last year. If they didn't give you specific permission to email them – YOU ARE A SPAMMER!

It's really simple. It's not gray. It is black and white.

No Permission = No Email Marketing

Photo compliments of Dave77459 on Flickr

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul February 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

I’ve spoken with a client or two that feel it’s perfectly acceptable to spam a large purchased list once… “you know, just so I can get things going.”
The very, very small group of those who respond are the founding members of their in-house list.
Of course, they’ll never spam again.
Yeah… right.

Jodi February 17, 2010 at 11:06 am

Paul, I know what you mean. It’s gotten to the point where I have a standard “email list rant.” I’m thinking of making it an auto-text script, so I can press F15 (or whatever) and the whole thing types itself.

Bob Poole February 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

@Paul – It is a pretty common practice. I’ve even seen consultants touting that it is the only way to grow a list. Of course, the list sellers will tell you it is okay too. The way the business get around getting shut down by their ISP’s is they have the list seller do the mailing for them. The seller has sweetheart deals with ISP’s who are happy to take their money – at a premium.
@Jodi – You mean you don’t have an anti-spam message macro already! 🙂

Bob Poole February 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I meant to mention that is almost humorous that every time I write about spam, I’ll get people who will unsubscribe. It’s the only subject where that happens.

Jodi Kaplan February 19, 2010 at 7:59 am

Bob, your post inspired me to write an email rant post on my blog yesterday. My numbers went up.

Bob Poole February 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

@Jodi – do you mean your readership went up or the amount of spam? I hope for the first but fear the second. I’ve got someone who mails me once every minute from the same address and same subject. It all goes into the spam folder and they get blacklisted but they move email accounts as fast as a roach can crawl away. Come to think of it…

Jodi Kaplan February 23, 2010 at 11:34 am

I mean my readership went up.
Also, Aksimet (WordPress plugin) is pretty good about trapping spam, so when someone spams me, it nearly always gets blocked.
Sorry about the roach. Maybe he’d like a nice, restful stay in a special hotel…

Bob Poole February 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

@Jodi – that is great! I hear Aksimet works well. We will find out soon. Opps…did not mean to let that out yet.

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