If it quacks like a duck…

8374802487_3d1b775a34_bLast week on the Word to the Wise blog, Steve Atkins wrote about the ways that B2B spammers are often successful (to a degree) at getting mail delivered. It’s an insightful post that points to some of the unsavory practices many of us have seen occurring in the industry for years, and a good read for anyone in the email business.

While reading through I couldn’t help but think of another angle to Steve’s post: the acrobatics that many B2B spammers use to avoid or recover from account termination are often too similar to some of the strategies used by more legitimate marketers. As a marketer, I suggest you read Steve’s post very carefully and compare the methods described to those you use in your own mail program:

  • Do you make it hard or confusing for recipients to unsubscribe from your mailings (i.e. hiding the link at the bottom in small text or excluding it altogether)?
  • Are you splitting your mail stream among multiple ESPs at once?
  • Does your domain name, company name, or address information (or lack thereof) obfuscate the identity of your company as the sender of the mail?
  • Do you send the same content from multiple, non-associated domain names or mail servers?
  • Are you using a service that requires you to create a new Gmail/Google Apps account to send mail that does not clearly identify your organization?

If you can answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s a good time to review your email practices. While an affirmative answer here doesn’t necessarily make you a spammer, it does mean you may be sharing some of their most common tactics.

If you are sending legitimate email, the last thing you want to do is use “spammy” practices. Email providers are constantly adapting their mail filtering methodology to stop mail that exhibits the most common characteristics of spam. Messages that exhibit these characteristics are more likely to be filtered. As the saying goes, if it looks, swims, and quacks like a duck…it’s probably a duck. When ISPs look at your incoming mail, do you want it to look even a little bit like spam?

If your recipients have opted in and asked for your emails, you shouldn’t have to employ these tactics to keep your list fresh and engaged. Build trust by being transparent. Build delivery rates by sending only what is requested. Build a reputation with recipients and providers alike, and you’ll likely see your inbox rates (and revenue) moving in the right direction.

– BG


One comment

  1. […] Here’s a Public Service Announcement for your Monday: confirming your email should never be required to unsubscribe from a mailing list. I’m sure I’ll hear from someone who has an example of an edge case where it’s necessary, but the vast majority of cases should require no such thing. Possibly the most compelling reason not to require confirmation of the address? Spammers require confirmation of addresses in order to “unsubscribe” – with the exception they don’t actually unsubscribe you. Do you want your email to have something in common with most spam? We don’t recommend it. […]


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