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Justifying spam: A short little rant

Me: “How many people are on your email list?”

Client: “There are about 250,000 on this list we’re going to use, and they all opted in to receive information about XYZ topic!!”

Me: “Oh, wow, that’s, um, thats a pretty big list.”

What is it about some people that justify the use of spam?

Buying a small list with just 250,000 people is still spam. A list doesn’t have to have ten million names to be considered spamming. Just because someone told you they opted in to receive emails about your industry doesn’t mean it’s true.

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

6 replies on “Justifying spam: A short little rant”

An extraordinarily large mass mailing though does not necessarily qualify as spam though. While it is questionable that 250,000 people directly opted-in to receive information about XYZ product, according to CAN-SPAM, quantity is not a factor.

From what I understand, as long as an email is a “transactional or relationship message” and contains valid header information, has a mechanism for the receipient to opt-out, contains a truly descriptive subject line and is identified as an advertisement, it’s not considered spam.

I guess the tricky part is interpreting what qualifies as a “transactional or relationship message”.

I used to work in house at this awful company that was basically a global diet patch/vitamin pyramid scheme. (edit: multi-level marketing) Anyhow, they had approximately 250,000 users, and they INSISTED on sending them mass emails two and three times a week, sometimes every weekday. And it wasn’t vital information about their membership, it was “blah blah register for this event now and you’ll save $5” or some crap like that.

Some companies honestly believe (even against the advice of their entire IT staff) that if it’s not a Nigerian bank scam that it’s not spam. We also didn’t give people the ability to opt out of these emails, if you were one of the company’s distributors you HAD to get them, and if you had two email addresses on file you’d get the spam at both.

I think what happened was that this company “rented” a list with people who were supposedly interested in a topic, and had opted in to receive that topic.

The problem is that often times it takes some thinking to translate.

What really happened (my guess): Some company set up a contest with some national “health” company and asked for email addresses… Since everybody had the chance of winning a car or some other prize they thought it was acceptable risk.

spam is an e-mail than nobody want to recieve, but… what do you really want?

believe it or not, some people buy the stuff offer in a spam message…

more than 80% of the “free” services online have a cost and your e-mail address is the pay.

think about it, maybe your e-mail address is “free” too

There should be legislation passed that mandates the immediate arrest and subsequent [insert arcane form of torturous death here]* of all spammers in the nearest city square.

That or all recipients of spam form said spammer should at least be offered the opportunity to beat the living snot out of them–all at once. Ahhh, mob justice.

* Examples include: hanging | caning to death | shooting | drawing and quartering | boiling in oil

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