The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

More SPAM Legislation Might Be Around the Corner

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 15 to 25 new “Do Not Mail” bills will be introduced on the state level that will attempt to replicate the Federal Do Not Call legislation.  Although the federal government does have a legitimate business interest (US Postal Service) in not proposing federal legislation, Congress might be forced into taking action if a patchwork of state laws pass.

What does this mean for email marketers? 

Legislation in one marketing medium usually finds its way to other ones as technology makes compliance easier and enforcement is less of an issue.  It is doubtful that 2008 will see any significant legislation specifically related to email marketing. The “Do Not Mail” bills, however, could be a pre-curser to amending CAN SPAM from opt-out to opt-in. This means that all recipients will need to officially opt-in to receiving your email. Right now, the law requires marketers to have an opt-out option, and while opt-in is preferred, it’s not required. 

Stay ahead of this potential hiccup by strengthening your opt-in methods now. Check out eLoop’s features such as landing pages, surveys, and others to see how you can increase your opt-in savvy.

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Gray Listing. What Is It?

I was manning the EEC booth at the OMMA conference in New York last week when I met an academic looking fellow named David Blumenstein.  After I pitched him about the EEC and all the cool things the group was working on he grabbed a seat next to me and started to rant about how gray listing is the secret to fighting spam.  Naturally the subject piqued my interest so I prodded him to go into detail.  He said that spammers don't like to receive bounces because it overwhelms their servers.  As a result spammers turn off bounce mechanisms.  Therefore pinging a legitimate mail server will yield a mailer demon and pinging a spammer's server will yield nothing.  He concluded that putting all unknown senders in email purgatory until a mailer demon is received helps to eliminate most spam.  The biggest drawback is that his email is delayed for 12 minutes or so. 

Pretty interesting!  Thanks Dave!  I'll have to try it out.

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Dealing with International Spam Laws

Email marketers have spent four years figuring out and complying with the CAN SPAM regulation of 2003 for their U.S. recipients.  But, international laws also apply and some may have more reach than domestic laws. For example, the EU Privacy Directive specifies that you have a required opt-in for campaigns. 

The best strategy is to understand the make up of your mailing database and educate your marketing team on the international laws.

Visit for more information on international SPAM laws.

E-ssentials is brought to you by Gold Lasso Email Marketing

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Are You A Spammer? Not So Much Anymore!

If I got a dollar for every time I have been asked that question over the past five years my kid's 529 savings plan would be well funded for a Harvard tuition.  Finally over the past few months I haven't been as embarrassed to say I'm in the commercial email industry and I have the classic spammers to thank.  

It seems as though the average American (with the exception of the few spam vigilantes) have become so desensitized to classic spam they almost expect it.  "Sure I'll wire over $10,000 to Mr. Mobutu over in Nigeria" jokes one of my buddies at a cocktail party.  "Who falls for this stuff?" chimes in a neighbor.  Efforts of classic spammers are so off the deep end it's become laughable and makes my job easier to legitimize opt-in commercial email.  Most Americans have been on the Internet long enough to tell the difference between spam and legitimate commercial email.  So the next time someone some one asks you what you do for a living just say "email marketing."  And if they ask "Are you a spammer?" just politely reply, "If you still want to call me that."

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The New York Times Sticks It to Email Marketers and Does the General Public A Disservice

On my way home from a restful Caribbean vacation I picked up a copy of the New York Times during a stopover at Charlotte Douglas International.  On the front page in the Inside feature section read a headline "Do Not Call, Write or..."  Since I'm an email marketer, naturally my curiosity piqued and I read the article.  Needless to say I have never read such an ill researched piece of crap from the mainstream media then what I read in the New York Times that day.  The premise of the article was to give advice to consumers about how to remove their names from marketing lists.... snail mail, email, etc.  In the article Damon Darlin suggests to readers that "Whatever you do, do not respond to an unsolicited e-mail message when it gives you the option to opt out of receiving more e-mail. That is a trick used by spammers to confirm they hit a live address. Once that happens, your address goes to a prime list and is sold to other spammers. You may even find legitimate businesses eventually using addresses on that list." 

Where is the research behind this claim?  All the spam that I have received for Viagra, fake Rolex watches and winning lottery tickets never have an opt-out link.  Granted, I'm sure the practice by spammers of using an opt-out link to trick unsuspecting consumers to verify their email address may happen on rare occasion.  However if a spammer wanted to use that opt-out link methodology  to really confirm email addresses they would simply measure the open rate... a spammer would a  better net result and the process would be much more efficient.  Therefore Darlin's claim is total bogus.  Yes, spam is an issue however sending unsolicited commercial email in the United Stats is not illegal and legitimate companies practicing this do include an opt-out link if they have half a brain cell.   Therefore not using an opt-out link to such email would simply have the opposite effect stated by Darlin.  The bottom line is that Darlin and the New York Times have done a disservice to consumers and have contributed to the undermining of legitimate marketer's efforts to educate consumers to use the opt-out link. 

Read the New York Times article here:

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