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|E-Mail Marketing vs Spam
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|Author:||Ralph_o_pedia_911 [ Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:15 am ]|
|Post subject:||E-Mail Marketing vs Spam|
E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses
electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or
fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense,
every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be
considered e-mail marketing. However, the term is usually
used to refer to:
- Sending e-mails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship
of a merchant with its current or old customers and to
encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Sending e-mails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or
convincing old customers to buy something immediately.
- Adding advertisements in e-mails sent by other companies to
Researchers estimate that as of 2004 the E-mail Marketing
industry's revenues has surpassed the $1 billion/yr mark.
E-mail marketing is popular with companies because:
- Compared to other media investments such as direct mail
or printed newsletters, it is less expensive.
- Return on investment has proven to be high when done properly.
- It is instant, as opposed to a mailed advertisement,
an e-mail arrives in a few seconds or minutes.
- It lets the advertiser "push" the message to its audience,
as opposed to a website that waits for customers to come in.
- It is easy to track. An advertiser can track bounce-backs,
un-subscribes, open rates, positive or negative responses,
click-throughs, rise in sales.
- Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of e-mail
subscribers who have opted in (consented) to receive
e-mail communications on subjects of interest to them
- When most people switch on their computer the first thing
they do is check their e-mail.
- Specific types of interaction with messages can trigger
other messages to be automatically delivered.
Many companies use e-mail marketing to communicate with
existing customers, but many other companies send unsolicited
bulk e-mail, also known as spam.
Illicit e-mail marketing antedates legitimate e-mail marketing,
since on the early Internet (see Arpanet) it was not permitted
to use the medium for commercial purposes. As a result,
marketers attempting to establish themselves as legitimate
businesses in e-mail marketing have had an uphill battle,
hampered also by criminal spam operations billing themselves
It is frequently difficult for observers to distinguish
between legitimate and spam e-mail marketing. First off,
spammers attempt to represent themselves as legitimate operators,
obfuscating the issue. Second, direct-marketing political
groups such as the U.S. Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
have pressured legislatures to legalize activities which many
Internet operators consider to be spamming, such as the sending
of "opt-out" unsolicited commercial e-mail. Third, the sheer
volume of spam e-mail has led some users to mistake legitimate
commercial e-mail (for instance, a mailing list to which the
user subscribed) for spam — especially when the two have a
similar appearance, as when messages include HTML and flashy
Due to the volume of spam e-mail on the Internet, spam filters
are essential to most users. Some marketers report that
legitimate commercial e-mails frequently get caught by filters,
and hidden; however, it is somewhat less common for e-mail
users to complain that spam filters block legitimate mail.
Companies considering an e-mail marketing program must make
sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as
the United States CAN-SPAM Act, the European Privacy &
Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 or their Internet
provider's acceptable use policy. Even if a company follows
the law, if Internet mail administrators find that it is
sending spam it is likely to be listed in blacklists such as
E-mail marketing terms
Automatic replies sent by the e-mail software of the
recipient after receipt of an e-mail.
e-mail sent back to the server that originally sent
Ratio of bounced e-mails to total e-mails sent.
Terms used by spammers to refer to their line of work.
Mostly synonymous with spam or UCE.
Call to action
Words in the e-mail that entice recipients to do
The action of clicking on a link.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Ratio of click-throughs to total e-mails sent.
Any e-mail sent for commercial purpose; for instance,
an advertisement to buy a product or service, an order
confirmation from an online store, or a paid subscription
periodical delivered by e-mail. Commercial e-mail is not
synonymous with spam; see unsolicited commercial e-mail below.
Characteristic of a group of e-mail recipients.
A term coined by spammers to refer to the normal operation
of secure electronic mailing list software. A new
subscriber first gives his/her address to the list
software (for instance, on a Web page) and then confirms
subscription after receiving an e-mail asking if it was
really him/her. This ensures that no person can subscribe
someone else out of malice or error. The intention of the
term "double opt-in" is to make it appear that the
confirmation is a duplication of effort; and thus, to
justify not confirming subscriptions. Mail system
administrators and non-spam mailing list operators refer
to confirmed subscription or closed-loop opt-in.
Same as Opt-In, but the recipient unsubscribes instead
of subscribes. Borderline spam operations frequently make
it difficult to unsubscribe from lists, in order to keep
their lists large. Hard-core spam operations make it
impossible -- they treat opt-out requests as confirmations
that the address works and is read.
An e-mail sent to multiple recipients, intended to inform
them of announcements, events or changes. A variety of
methods can be used to send the same e-mail to multiple
recipients: for example: using options within an e-mail
program, using the mail merge option within a word
processing program, or using a commercial e-mail list programs.
A recipient agrees actively to subscribe by checking a
box on a web form, paper form or by telephone. A
recipient not unchecking a box is not express consent.
E-mail that is not spam but is labeled spam by a spam
filter of the recipient. Note that e-mail marketers may
have different opinions of what is "spam" than e-mail
E-mails can be sent in plain text, HTML, or Microsoft's
rich text format.
Bounced e-mail that could never get through because the
e-mail address doesn't exist or the domain doesn't exist.
Reseller of lists of e-mail addresses.
Process of generating a list of e-mail addresses for use
in e-mail campaigns.
Web service that provides tools to manage large e-mail
address databases and to distribute large quantities of e-mails.
Owner or operator of opt-in e-mail newsletters or
databases. Also software used to maintain a mailing list.
Look and feel
Appearance, layout, design, functions & anything not
directly related to the actual message on an e-mail.
E-mail open rate measures the ratio of e-mails "opened"
to the number sent or "delivered." The ratio is calculated
in various ways, the most popular is: e-mails delivered
(sent - hard bounces) /unique opens.
The action of agreeing to receive e-mails from a
particular company, group of companies or associated
companies, by subscribing to an e-mail list.
A mailing list which transmits e-mails to people who
have not subscribed and lets them "opt-out" from the
list. The subscribers' e-mail addresses may be harvested
from the web, USENET, or other mailing lists. ISP
policies and some regions' laws consider this equivalent
The use of technology and customer information to
tailor e-mails between a business and each individual
customer. Using information previously obtained about
the customer, the e-mail is altered to fit that
customer's stated needs as well as needs perceived by
the business based on the available customer information,
for the purpose of better serving the customer by
anticipating needs, making the interaction efficient
and satisfying for both parties and building a
relationship that encourages the customer to return for
The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, safeguards
privacy through creating four procedural rights in
personal data. It requires government agencies to show
an individual any records kept on him/her; also requires
agencies to follow "fair information practices" when
gathering and handling personal data. It places
restrictions on how agencies can share an individual's
data with other people and agencies and also lets
individuals sue the government for violating its provisions.
A mailing list that can only be used once or for a
limited time. The user of the list pays the owner of
the list less money than if he/she would have bought
the list outright. Note that this term is usually used
for lists generated by address harvesting or other
means; the investment made by the list creator does
not correlate with the permission of the e-mail
recipients. Many firms who "rent" or "buy" a list
face spam complaints afterward from persons who
Segmentation (or Targeting)
The use of previously gathered information to send
e-mails of a particular offer to a subset of the list.
A soft bounce is an e-mail that gets as far as the
recipient's mail server but is bounced back undelivered
before it gets to the intended recipient. it might
occur because the recipient's inbox is full. A soft
bounce message may be deliverable at another time or
may be forwarded manually by the network administrator
in charge of redirecting mail on the recipient's
domain. On the other hand, a hard bounce is an e-mail
message that has been returned to the sender because
the recipient's address is invalid.
Spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial e-mail-UCE)
From the sender's point-of-view, spam is a form of
bulk mail, often sent to a list obtained by companies
that specialize in creating e-mail distribution lists.
To the receiver, it usually seems like junk e-mail.
Spam is equivalent to unsolicited telemarketing calls
except that the user pays for part of the message
since everyone shares the cost of maintaining the
Internet. Spammers typically send a piece of e-mail
to a distribution list in the millions, expecting that
only a tiny number of readers will respond to their
offer. The term spam is said to derive from a famous
Monty Python sketch ("Well, we have Spam, tomato &
Spam, egg & Spam, Egg, bacon & Spam...") that was
current when spam first began arriving on the Internet.
SPAM is a trademarked Hormel meat product that was
well-known in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
Software that is usually installed in the users e-mail
client, with the purpose of avoiding spam e-mail to
get into the client's inbox or at least to be flagged
It is one of the most important issues in e-mail marketing.
The better the subject line of an e-mail, the better
probability of being opened by the recipient.
Targeting (or segmentation)
Sending e-mails to a subset of a mailing list based
on a specific filter, trying to improve CTR and/or
The act of reporting CTR, open ratios, bounces, etc.
Trigger based messaging
Triggering a message based on an event or interaction
with a previous message. Popular for customers who
request more information
During a particular period, a visitor to a website
could click several times on a particular link, but
during that period it is counted only as one and
considered a unique visitor.
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE)
Commercial e-mail, usually of an advertising nature,
sent at the expense of the recipient without his or
her permission. Sending UCE is an offense against
all major ISPs' terms of service, and is a crime in
- The Email Forum
- E-mail marketing article on About.com
- SpamCon Foundation
- Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail
- Email Sender & Provider Coalition
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