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Spam is one of those subjects that baffle people. Many clients simply can’t understand why people wouldn’t want to receive their newsletter. For these clients it’s often important to do a little bit of “re-education” on why email marketing requires permission, and more importantly: why is favours them to do so.

Can’t I just use my old list?

Some times. The problem is that old addresses that ISP’s assume aren’t being used are often included in”spam traps”, waiting for spammers to email them. Those email senders are then blocked. General rule of thumb? Avoid anything 2 years old.

I want to add people I know/have business cards of/have in my outlook address book/salesforce account/etc.

These are fine for one to one contact, but sending out mass email to lists like this constitutes spam, and will be treated as such both by users and ISPs. Enough complaints and it’s your marketing that is going to get impacted.

People aren’t double opting, there must be a delivery problem with my email.

Loads of bots crawl the Internet filling out forms. Usually they’re either scraping email addresses (mayhap to build one of those lists you shouldnt use), or trying to leave comment spam. We get ~40 of these “fake” subscribers a week, maybe more. If these people are signing up with fake addresses, then your email will bounce, and they won’t get double opted. And if you keep sending bouncing email, well, that’s one of the signals ISPs look for for determining if some one is spamming.

“We’re planning an email blast…”

Just no… Some people (including people around here) use that language to describe sending a newsletter, and if it’s just language then that’s ok. But if people are talking about “email blasts” it’s usually a good idea to double check their list and make sure that they’re not planning to spam.

Can I skip the double opt-in?

Many ESP’s require that your subscribers be a product of a double opt (and honestly, it’s a good idea) but others may allow you to import single opt-in users. However, when clients are asking about this, they’re likely not understanding the fact that people who haven’t completed the double opt are likely a waste of effort, driving down your numbers costing you (slightly) more money.

For example, let’s say you get me coming to your site and entering as my email address. The real noone may not want your newsletter, and they may mark it as spam. When this gets above, say, a couple of complaints per thousand, then you’re starting to get in trouble.



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