Computer SPAM accounts for 70% of all email traffic.
Four out of five children, ages 7-18 regularly receive SPAM offering gambling, money lending, scams and pornography.
These numbers don’t sit well if you are in business and trying to use technology to share information with clients, prospects and colleagues. The email process has gotten so cluttered by hackers and spammers that one wrong step could cause you to become blacklisted – damaging both your communication process and your reputation. SPAM is damaging business in a variety of ways so it is critical that you understand what constitutes SPAM as well as the cost to your business.
Your content is considered SPAM if the recipient:
- Is not an acquaintance
- Is not a customer
- Doesn’t have an opt-in choice
Your content could be considered SPAM if you are sending any of the following, with the purpose of making money:
- Promotions for product or service
- Multi level marketing sign-up offers
- Chain Letters
- Political Email
- Stock/Financial Advice
Paramount to all of this is to realize that offering an opt-out selection doesn’t not exempt your email from being considered SPAM. The rule of courtesy, and the safe way to build a list, is to ask before you send.
Illegal or just Unethical?
In many countries SPAM is illegal, but in some places it is merely a question of ethics. Some countries have stringent laws that make SPAM content illegal – putting the spammer at too high a risk – say for example sending child pornography in America will get you a nice visit to the nearest lock-up. Sending requests to sign up for giveaways with the intent of collecting data may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical. Now, you may be thinking, my business doesn’t send this type of email so why is this such a big deal to me?
One in four emails doesn’t make it into the inbox but is rather shuffled into a SPAM folder or blocked all together.
SPAM is bad for business. Senders may lose credibility, be blacklisted, and run the risk of having their own site hacked but what about the innocent recipient? Chances are your email is loaded with SPAM from senders that are using intermediate systems and hit and run style blasting to get into your mailbox with the hope of piquing your interest. Now, you may not be interested in what they are sending but the simple act of unsubscribing shows you’re reading, opening and participating. Further more, chances are your act of “unsubscribing: is only confirming your email address and resulting in more junk headed your way.
No doubt, SPAM is bad for business!
Consider the time it takes to sort and delete. AOL received 1.8 million cyber promotions of spam in one day. At an average of 10 seconds to identify and discard these emails it would take 5000 hours per day to manage. To a smaller business, it is a matter of lost production time, even if you’re only receiving 10-20 emails a day. A full inbox can feel overwhelming to many. Processing SPAM messages lessons productivity as our brain has to scan each subject line, consider the pitch, click, delete, and move on. All this fraudulent noise of advertising for worthless junk is robbing you of space in your mailbox as well as in your head to deal with daily business issues. It is exhausting not to mention all this SPAM is clogging up our inboxes leaving no room for the real mail!
Stop sending and receiving SPAM
- Do not share your email online unnecessarily. Keep your email off your website and social media sites and instead use an alternate address such as info@…
- Avoid contests. Chances of winning online are bleak but chances of being added to unwanted email lists are 100%.
- Set up a “catchall” email address if you feel the need to sign up for newsletters, eblasts, and store specials. Most ISPs and Google offer free email that is great for keeping business content separate.
- Never unsubscribe. This sounds counter intuitive, but most spammers will unethically use this link to simply verify an active email address.
- Always opt-out when buying online. Often companies have auto-on selected to sign you up for newsletters and coupons. Look for this and deselect before finalizing your purchase.
- Stop forwarding chain letters, jokes and promises from Microsoft to give you thousands. There is no reward when you find yourself on the receiving end of SPAM.