I’m a strong supporter of email marketing and integration of the process with your bogging. In my mind the two go hand in hand better than any other form of Site/Autorespoder integration and helps you turn your hobby into profitable venture a LOT FASTER than without it!

But I’m also a believer into ‘Double Opt-in” process for subscribers to be absolutely sure that a person who subscribed to receive my emails actually had to take second step:

  • Verify Request For Receiving Information from me!

I hate spam just as much as anyone else and what pisses me off is when I get OVERLOADED with spam as result of me trying to be accessible to my customers, subscribers, blog readers…

Earlier this week I shared my gratitude to the people who helped me learn the ropes, be it by design or by example and without them even knowing about it, but non less – I learned what I believe to be the Bases of Ethical Email Marketing!

Rule Number One in Ethical Email Marketing:

You have to have a permission to send Bulk Email to a person!

Above is my own loose definition of the Double Opt-in process I use and recommend and even though many marketers lately are switching back to single option, I stick to my guns and agree with what aweber describes in their blog post “Confirmed Opt-in Myths Exposed” – I prefer quality over quantity!

I have made it a point to be also accessible to my subscribers and both my partner and I are trying to always respond to emails we get, if one requires respond. Granted sometimes our answers are not too detailed but as the numbers of current subscribers continue to grow – email begins to take up a lot of our time.

But even that wouldn’t be issue if not the Email Spam We Get as result of being accessible!

Why I’ll Change “Reply-To” email address to “No Reply”

This is the classic case where one or two people make it bad for everybody, unfortunately what might seem as one or two is increasingly becoming very large number.

And although I can’t confirm it – ever-increasing number of the people who do what I’m about to describe tells me that there is SOMEONE out there who teaches this crap!

I believe that as more people join the attempt to earn money online – they access this “teaching” and implement it exactly as advised. I even believe that most of these people are not even aware that what they do is nothing but SPAM!

And here is scenario I’m talking about:

  • My email list is configured with a “reply to” email that actually leads to me, as I want to be accessible to my subscribers
  • I present a Subscribe form, in one form or another somewhere on the web. I have many different variations
  • I follow the guidelines and REQUIRE that person confirms their subscription and request to get information from me!

Are we good so far? I think process is pretty simple and from my side I took all the precautions to make sure that NOBODY can subscribe by accident!

Next steps is what the problem clear…

  • I begin to deliver on my promise and send information in 3 forms:
    1. One of the gifts promised as download for subscription
    2. Autoresponder follow-up sequence
    3. Broadcast emails
  • Each time I email – I get hundreds and ever-growing number of automated replies!

And here I’m not talking about “out of office” or “vacation” replies. Those are bit annoying but a normal part of email correspondence and I can live with that.

What I’m talking about here are ever-growing number of emails that contain nothing but promotion! Somebody have taught those people to setup autoresponder associated with email account and include some promotional message in there and then go out, subscribe to any email list they can get their hands on and anytime email comes to their inbox – they reply with SPAM message.

And Yes! It Is SPAM!

If you were taught this strategy as valid “email marketing” – stop now! There are several major problems with this approach:

  1. You NEVER received a request from me to send me emails
  2. You NEVER got permission from me to send me emails
  3. You ARE NOT COMPLIANT with CAN-SPAM and can become a subject to legal action!

Just because you subscribed to my email list doesn’t mean you have received permissions to send me emails!

But what is even much worse – what you are doing is Illegal and Unethical! CAN-SPAM legislation is designed to protect people from email abuse and requires that if you are running promotions – you have to provide receiver with simple means to be removed from it!

I have yet to see a single person who uses this method to do that!

But let’s just assume you are doing this on purpose and actually acting with full understanding of the implications – you can’t possibly get enough response to justify your name being associate with SPAM and destroying something for everyone else in process!

I pride myself on doing my best to be accessible to people to the extend permitted by time but when I waste over an hour a day clearing my inbox from these unsolicited promotions disguised as email reply and separating them from actual customers requests, feedback, etc – I just can’t afford it anymore…

I will have to as result of ever-increasing SPAM switch to email address I will not be monitoring but simply explaining people how they can still get access to me and ask for the help they need.

I don’t know about your opinion but to me it sucks when a few bad apples spoil it for everyone!

Let me know what you think? Comment below!