If you have been doing internet marketing in any form for a while then you will probably know the answer to what is the meaning of spam. If not read on, as you need to learn how to avoid spamming, and that there are many effective alternatives for online lead generation that do not involve spam.
You also need to learn how not to be overwhelmed by the many different sources of spam rules and definitions. Rather use your common sense to avoid spam while still maintaining an aggressive Internet Marketing Strategy.
What Is The Meaning Of Spam?
Spam is basically using unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCC). Unless you are very unusual, you will never memorize all the definitions and rules pertaining to spam as there are many, and thus you will never have a foolproof system of avoiding spam technically.
If you can gain a relatively simple understanding of it, however, you can safely avoid spam just by using good common sense.
What Is Spam Actually?
There are many definitions of spam. And to simplify what is the meaning of spam, let’s look at some examples.
Netscape defines spam as the sending of more than five emails in bulk to persons you do not personally know.
Others define spam more strictly. The most general definition of spam is the sending of unsolicited commercial emails.
When you open your snail mailbox every day and see numerous unsolicited commercial adverts that have been delivered to you by the postal services, it makes you wonder why unsolicited electronic email is outlawed.
Like all laws and rules, however, we should look more to history than to logic to understand why they came to be.
Although the internet did not become popular with the public until the early 1990s, the internet has been in existence for a long time. Prior to early 1992, the internet was primarily used by the military and university scientists. These users were conducting what they justifiably felt was important business, which could not be interrupted by commercial correspondence.
For most of the Internet’s history, ALL commercial correspondence was completely banned. Only recently has commercial use of the Internet been allowed at all.
Although this total restriction on commercial use was lifted, a restriction on unsolicited commercial email remains, and for good reason.
Email is for communicating, not for advertising. Getting unsolicited commercial emails can be annoying.
Without restriction, it has the capacity to come in such large numbers as to render your email completely useless and even to shut down your email server altogether.
This is due to the fact that, unlike snail mail, email can be sent in tremendous bulk with very little effort and one will receive thousands of messages a day from each of thousands of sources were it not prohibited.
Since many people break the no spam rules and send it out anyway, we all have had some taste of what it would be like if it were not prohibited.
Spam understandably makes people mad and when they get mad they report spammers to their ISPs or other organizations or to the government authorities.
Bad consequences such as losing internet service or even facing civil and criminal penalties result from spamming, so it is best not to do it.
The internet is worldwide so there are potentially many different laws in many different jurisdictions pertaining to spam. Plus losing your internet service or having your domain blocked due to spam is a matter of contract that varies from provider to provider, each having its own rules about spam in its Acceptable Use Policy.
When it comes to deciphering what is the meaning of spam, there are some rules you can adhere to, namely:
- Never use email for advertising with one, and only one exception – when you have a clear ‘opt in’ event.
- When advertising with email in an ‘opt-in’ situation, always supply a working ‘opt-out’ mechanism.
- Never annoy anyone with any kind of spammy email.
- Never mislead anyone (in either the opt-in process, or in the email subject header).
Rule Number 1:
The rule that you should never use email for advertising unless you have a clear opt-in event is something you should always keep in mind.
Your own site on the World Wide Web is the only place that you can advertise to your heart’s content without needing permission from anyone else.
There are so many effective ways to use your website to generate leads and market online, and once you learn how to do this, through content marketing, the world is your oyster.
One excellent way to get leads from your website is to have an opt-in form on your website where your visitors have the option to leave their email address so you can contact them again. If you send an email to these customers it is not considered spam as they have opted into your list.
The other option is to first email someone and ask them for permission for you to send them an email, although this method is not that effective with strangers.
There are quite a few other email services available on the internet, but in all of them, you join the service and agree to receive email from others in exchange for you being able to send your email to others. These are called Traffic Exchange or Safelists.
This sort of advertising is not as effective as having your own list, but for me, it works quite well if I use these services in bulk. In order to send thousands of emails at once, I prefer to use Referral Frenzy, as it just saves me so much time with my marketing.
Rule Number 2:
Even if your potential customers have opted in to receive emails from you, make sure that you include an opt-out mechanism or link in every email you send so that your customer is in control of whether or not he or she wants you to continue emailing them.
Once somebody does opt-out, the request must be immediately honored. Most Autoresponder services take care of this for you automatically.
Rule Number 3:
It also helps to remember that you will never get into trouble if no one ever accuses you of spamming. So aim to never annoy anyone, and then nobody should report you. If you treat others as you would have them treat you, you are not likely to annoy them.
It helps to think in terms of what annoys the average person, or to be safe, the overly sensitive person as well.
If you take care to always make sure that your email is pleasant, you will not only be less likely to be accused of spamming, but you will more effectively develop relationships with your list, which is the key to any successful marketing.
Remember to provide some way for the people who read your mail to respond to you.
Rule Number 4:
What most people opt in to an email list for is good and solid information about what they have expressed an interest in and no more.
People become very annoyed when they are misled. If they ask for one type of information and get another, they feel used.
This factor also comes into play among other places in choosing a subject header for your email that you do choose to send. If the subject says ‘$40 deposited into your bank account tomorrow no strings,’ and then the body of the email mentions nothing about it again but proceeds to sell something else or offering marketing advice that recommends using subject headings that get people to read your email regardless of whether or not the subject has anything to do with your offer. Nothing could be worse advice.
Bait and switch tactics like these are dishonest, immoral, and often illegal and are guaranteed to annoy the recipients of your email. Do not do it.
Also do not promise to send something, and then send entirely different content to what they were expecting. Starting off a relationship in this way is dishonest, and won’t end up in a lasting business relationship.
I hope that this article has made the question of what is the meaning of spam more clear for you. Please feel free to comment below on your experiences with spam and how you have dealt with it. What is the meaning of spam for you in your business?
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