Bane or Boon

Written By: Bob Osgoodby

Email to some is simply a way to contact friends and family, and
to keep in touch. To others, it is a very important method of
communicating with business associates.

Unfortunately, those who send out unsolicited ads have created a
problem for both. It seems the amount of spam received daily
increases geometrically, and try as we might, we just can’t keep
ahead of the game.

Let’s talk about some of the more serious offenders. We have all
received email, and tried to respond, only to have the response
returned as undeliverable. These people forge an email address,
and are basically dishonest. Anyone who does business with their
ilk, deserves what they get.

High up on the list of “pains in the neck” are people who list an
auto-responder as their return address, and program it to send
out a series of emails on a regular basis. If you reply to them
and ask to be removed, you will get at least five or more emails
from them over a short period of time. These people are also
dishonest as they are trying to sell you something, even though
you have asked them to cease and desist.

Another winner in this “hit parade” is the “fresh from the farm
newbie” who harvests (or if they are really dumb buys a list)
thousands of names and starts sending out unsolicited email.
Thinking they have found the keys to the vault, they start
sending out spam by the thousands. They really take offense when
their ISP (Internet Service Provider) cancels their account.

And don’t you just love the “braintrust” who sends out his/her
thousands of emails and shows the email address of everyone they
sent it to. Spammers who may receive their ad have just added
another thousand or so names to their list.

Let’s look at the flip side of this coin. First let’s agree that
we don’t like spam. Some people however, really “flip out” and
make it their holy grail to get even. In the early days of the
Internet, one solution was to send back hundreds of copies of a
long document hoping to fill their mailboxes. That worked for
awhile, but modern email readers let someone preview an email and
they quickly delete this “reverse spam”.

Another group sends complaints to the ISP of the offender. If
the spammer used a forged address however, they quickly learn
that this is a waste of time. They receive back a very nice note
from the ISP, telling them that the address they are complaining
about doesn’t exist on their server. They stop doing this very
quickly, but still hate spam.

They then buy software that will parse a note and send a
complaint to every URL or email address contained in the spam.
Or worse yet, they complain to some self-appointed guardian of
the web who does it for them. This is OK if it is a legitimate
piece of spam, but I have seen this done by someone who
subscribed to a Newsletter, had a very senior moment, forgot they
had subscribed, and did it to the publisher.

This means that the ISP of every single URL or email address
contained in the newsletter gets sent a complaint. This includes
everyone who is identifiable in the Newsletter such as the
authors of the articles, the advertisers in the Newsletter and
anyone else who happens to have their web site listed there. Hey
folks this just isn’t fair.

There are too many other ways to solve the problem of spam
arriving in your mailbox. First of all, much spam is generated
if you use your email address on the web or in a chat room. Your
best bet is get free “throw away” addresses, and when the need
for the address doesn’t exist any longer, simply cancel it.

If you own your own domain, use an address that you tie in with
your advertising. When that starts to get overloaded, and it
will, change it in your ads and filter messages to the old
address to your trash bin.

Is it a bane or is it a boon. If you let it control you, it
falls into the first category. But if you use it intelligently,
it can be a most valuable asset to you and your business.

About the Author

Bob publishes the free weekly “Your Business” Newsletter
Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com to subscribe.
As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson,
when you visit http://www.ldpublishing.com

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