Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spam Blockers: Unique Challenge For Business

by: Scott Lindsay

“Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.” — Roger Ebert

The use of email has the potential to eliminate much of the costs associated with sending correspondence through regular mail. Invoices can be sent by email speeding up the payment process. Email can also connect individuals on a global basis in ways that have not been possible in the past.

Environmentalists were thrilled that fewer trees would be needed in a paperless exchange of communication, but there’s been a blight in cyberspace known as spam. Those who receive spam emails are about as impressed as those moments at during the evening meal when all telemarketers seem to make calls. The truth is no one likes spam.

“Spam is putting the Internet in jeopardy.” — Phillip Hallam-Baker

Many companies have responded to the difficulties with spam by providing consumers with spam blockers that eliminate most of the spam messages that are sent via cyberspace.

While this is wonderful news for consumers it provides unique challenges for passing along information to customers though bulk mail features – even when your customer opts in to a company mailing list.

Many spam blockers see bulk mail of any sort as spam and will typically block those emails. Some programs allow you to review the mail marked as spam to determine if you want to accept it as regular mail, but other programs block it before it ever comes to your in box.

"The spam wars are about rendering email useless for unsolicited advertising before unsolicited advertising renders email useless for communication." — Walter Dnes & Jeff Gin

If the above quote is the litmus test for ‘spam wars’ then this warfare is being won by zealous spam blocking software.

Many legitimate emails are now being sent to a large number of subscribers in a rolling delivery. By limiting the number of emails being sent to opt-in clients, business interests are finding better success in delivering requested materials.

Perhaps there will come a day when there will be a more sophisticated method of differentiating between legitimate bulk mail and spam, until then online marketers are finding increasing success through the use of blogs, optimized site content, forums and RSS feeds as an effective alternative.