So, I’ll bet you’re excited to learn this new promotion method that brought in all this email right? Well, beforeyou get too excited, let me tell you this… it’s one you should never even _consider_ using.
You see, that windfall of email was not from potential prospects and customers. It was from angry netizens – all recipients of unsolicited email. No, not spam from me, but spam that caused a nightmare for me none the less. And it shut down the site that was responsible, before they even realized they did anything wrong.
The rest of this article shares the few sordid details,including how YOU can avoid similar trouble…
It seems that a company in New Jersey who was new to the online marketing game decided to try some “email marketing”. So they bought one of those email lists that bulk email companies sell as “targeted email addresses” and had their host load it to their server.
One posting later their business was bombarded with complaints from angry recipients of the message. Not long after, their website was shut down, all because of one email message.
As for me, my own problems started when the spam hit my autoresponders. My “Welcome to the Bizweb eGazette”autoresponder appeared on the list no less than 17 times.The autoresponder was the one I used when new subscribers asked to be added to my newsletter.
Well it seems that the list of 30,000 addresses had been setup as an unmoderated discussion, and every angry spam recipient was free to reply to the entire list, snowballing the problem into a mass of junk mail in seconds. When my autoresponder replied to the list of 30,000 angry spam recipients over and over with “thanks for subscribing”, many of the spam victims figured I was the culprit in the whole mess! And let me tell you, there are more nasty people out here than I imagined.
If I had a nickel for every cuss word and threat that came in over the weekend I could retire today. And I can understand why so many of these people were upset, but unfortunately their anger was misdirected at a fellow innocent bystander.
Now let’s get to the main point of this whole story. I’m sure I can keep at least a handful of newbies from getting themselves in hot water like this website did.
I can also prepare my fellow “experienced” web marketers for the day when THEY are the recipient of misdirected anger due to spam.
OK, first the lesson for newbies…
No matter how tempting it may seem to buy an email list and”broadcast targeted email to thousands”, it is a trap. Andit only takes one message to shut your site down. The sad part is that these bulk email CD’s are promoted as “millions of targeted addresses” and you can get them dirt cheap,making them even more tempting. The problem is, nearly every bulk email list comes with a few features you are NOT being told about. For instance…
– NONE of the addresses on these spam lists have asked to be there. Actually, NONE of the email addresses on those lists even realize they are on them and they have NOT opted in to receive email solicitations.
– By “targeted” addresses these list hawkers really mean they entered keywords into an email address harvesting program and the program loaded thousands of addresses from sites with that keyword somewhere in their pages. (Is that targeted?)
– A HUGE percentage of people on those lists will complain to every ISP, host and agency they can, which will shut your site down in a heartbeat.
– The USER of a bulk email list is the one liable for damages that result. And there is now legislation against sending unsolicited email.
It really is simple to stay out of trouble — just don’t ever email anyone without their permission. And never trusta company that sells email addresses. If you think there is a chance that the addresses are truly opt-in (and it would be a rare instance) then ask for a list of satisfied advertisers BEFORE you buy the list. Contact each and everyone of them and ask about their results using the list.
And definitely ask the company selling the targeted addresses exactly HOW they built the list. If they say thatthe list members opted-in to the list then ask them if they realized that the list was going to be sold. You’d be hard-pressed to get 100 email addresses to opt-in to a list that was going to be sold over and over, let alone 30,000 or a million. After all, would YOU offer your email address to a company that told you up front they were going to sell the address over and over?
The fact is, when it comes to marketing with email your very best bet is to build YOUR OWN email lists. You can do thisby offering free reports, email newsletters, email courses, down-loadable ebooks, shareware, or anything else that contains valuable information related to your area of expertise. In exchange for the free service you offer you simply ask for the users name and email address.
It takes as little as ten minutes to set up an interface at your site to collect names and email addresses and deliver your free product automatically. And once you set it up your own opt-in lists will grow continually. You’ll never have to even consider using spam! This strategy is 100 times as effective.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Visit Jim at http://www.bizweb2000.com where he shares exactly how he makes his living from the Internet. And get Jim’s free weekly email newsletter, BizWeb eGazette by sending to [email protected]