Why You Should NEVER Spam

Thinking of sending out "spam" to boost your business? You'd better read these five reasons why not to spam before you do it unsolicited emails could HURT your company more than HELP it!

Spam is Internet slang for unsolicited bulk e-mail. The formal term is UCE - unsolicited commercial e-mail. If you send an e-mail message with sales/marketing material to someone who has not asked to receive it, you have just committed spam. If you pay money to a service to send out your message to a list of e-mail addresses, then you have also committed spam.

This week I received 3 more calls from people who had paid money to a provider to send their marketing sales pitch out to 10 million people who "wanted to receive the information" - or so they were led to believe. What happened? One person made the mistake of running an 800 number in the spam ad. The 800 number was besieged with calls - not from prospects, but rather from irritated recipients of the spam message who had called to complain. The person had to have the 800 number disconnected, but not before paying the $1500 phone bill that had been run up - plus the $800 paid to the spam provider. Total sales ZERO, out of pocket expense $2300.

The other 2 people I heard from this week had spent $200 each on a spam mailing, received an average of $25 in sales and had their Internet connections terminated by their provider - resulting in additional expense and hassles as they changed providers.

These are not isolated incidents, I hear from people every week who've had similar experiences. I have never heard from anyone who has made money marketing their product or service through spam. But why is spam so bad?

#1 - Most spam providers sell you a pitch that they will send your message out to "hand-picked" or "opt-in" lists, or will otherwise convince you these people want to receive your message. In most cases this is not true. The e-mail addresses have been harvested from newsgroup postings or stripped from web sites, and have been sold time and time again to e-mail list brokers. The unknowing buyer falls for the pitch and is soon in trouble with his or her Internet provider.

#2 - Most spam providers are unscrupulous folks at best. They change Internet providers often, go to great lengths to hide their identity and their physical address, and have been in and out of court for such practices as faking return/reply e-mail addresses and using the mail servers of unsuspecting providers as relay stations.

#3 - Spam slows down the entire Internet network and increases operating expenses - meaning higher consumer fees. It is not, as some people think, just a matter of "trashing" unwanted e-mail messages you receive. This is seeing the spam problem as an individual problem rather then the larger global problem that it really is. You see, the Internet is a network and spamming effects all users at some level, starting from the many global networks that the messages pass along to get to their destination, all the way down to the recipient. Time, money and resources are used up trying to catch and prevent spammers who infiltrate mail servers to send their spam messages out. The result is higher cost to you the consumer as providers are forced to add more security to their servers and hire more staff to manage and prevent the problem.

#4 - Finally, spam sent from you the advertiser, is a sure fire sign to the recipient that you are NOT a legitimate company because you are relying on this widely unaccepted practice to get your message out.

[Editor's Note: Sandi forgot #5: The Internet is a global medium, and in many parts of the world, people PAY for each e-mail message they receive - either through bandwidth charges from their ISP, telephone costs for the dial-up connection, or both. Even in the U.S., there are significant numbers of people who are not on a flat-rate plan or who can't make a free local call to access their mail. Making people pay to receive your un-asked-for advertisement is NOT a successful marketing strategy!

Bottom line. Do not use spam to market your product or service, rely on tried, tested and acceptable methods of marketing your products online. For ideas visit www.trafficcenter.com. If you receive e-mail messages that are unsolicited simply deposit them in your e-mail program's "trash bin."

Sandi Hunter is the Director of Web Site Development for Worldprofit, an Internet Service Provider. Get free newsletters, free report and traffic generating tools at http://www.worldprofit.com.


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