I Am Not Spam

I’ve recently become a bulk e-mail sender.  No, not a spammer.  There is a difference.

The World of Motorcycles Expo has been collecting emails from show-goers and contest entrants,  At the show, people got a frame-worthy poster and a chance to win other stuff in exchange for signing up for the quarterly email newsletter.  Online, they also entered draws for stuff.  Every email was legitimately acquired and freely given. 

Over the past couple of weeks, we created a simple yet good-looking initial newsletter.  Right off the bat we reminded people how they signed up for it and promised we’d never ask for money or share their address.  The page is meant to keep them informed on motorcycle related stuff, show stuff, and to give them opportunities to save money on stuff. 

The newsletter went out over the weekend and it has been fascinating.  The program we’re using (Mail Chimp) provides us with comprehensive reports on the results of our efforts.  About 5% of people gave us bogus email addresses.  We expected that.  But what we didn’t expect was for recipients to not know the difference between a legitimate campaign and spam.

You know that little button you can click to tell your Internet provider that an email is spam?  Well every time you do that a flag goes back to the originating server.  If there’s one flag per 1,000 emails, you’re fine.  If the rate goes up, you’re in trouble.   All it took for us to become temporarily blacklisted was for five people – FIVE – to click that little button.  Some people think that’s a fast way to move an email from the inbox to the trash bin.  Others just think it means, “I don’t want this”.  But it’s actually a powerful little tool and it has repercussions for legitimate business people. Our account was suspended and an investigation launched into our practises to make sure we weren’t among the cheap Viagra/work at home/find a date crowd.

If you’re being spammed by all means press that little button and let the world know.  But if you’re just receiving something you’ve decided you don’t want (even though you signed up for it without a gun to your head!) kindly use the little unsubscribe button on the bottom.  Anything else would be unfair, unwarranted and a pain in the arse to get reversed.

4 thoughts on “I Am Not Spam”

  1. Unfortunately your fighting a difficult battle against spam and sound security practices. You never click an unsubscribe button in an E-mail from anyone you don’t recognize because that is one of the techniques used by spammers to confirm legitimate E-mail addresses.

    There are several ways your newsletter can be black listed and clicking the spam button is only one of them with frequency, volume and content of E-mails other common methods. You can also automate the flagging of messages as spam without doing anything else. So your fighting an up hill battle.

    1. I guess my question is how dumb or perhaps forgetful are people? They signed up for the World of Motorcycles newsletter. They receive the World of Motorcycles newsletter in which the very first item is a reminder of where and when they signed up. There’s no request for information or money or attempt to sell them anything. How in the world can anybody be so goofy as to confuse that with spam???

  2. As my prof once said, you design an idiot proof system, and tomorrow nature will design you a bigger idiot.

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