I was part of a discussion group the other week on LinkedIn where a member was asking people to take a short survey about blogs and bloggers, which I completed and then posted my thanks for running the survey, asked to hear the results and a, oh by the way if you want to check out my blog, surf over to… right here – “The Naked Idea“.
Of course, other followed suit by posting their names and blog addresses when suddenly a comment popped up telling all of us to stop spamming and why were people so intent on spamming everyone and everything and the whole world is crashing down, oh my…
His argument, as flawed in many ways as it was, circled around the idea that if I send you an email telling you that you must read my blog, and you never asked for it, then I am a spammer. (Actually his argument was that if a company sends promotional material to him that he didn’t ask for, then they are spamming him – which in my mind equals almost all advertising and marketing as a type of spam.)
I didn’t care for his approach but the point did strike a chord. It was the point of discussion a few nights later over a few beers alongside a few local creatives.
Every month, I send out an email to a number of colleagues. I have two lists I use. The first list is made up of current friends, colleagues and current clients. The second are people who maybe I’ve only done a project or two or who I think may be interested in my content. And it dawned on me – part way into my second pint – ‘I am a spammer…’
I send this email out and most of them have never asked for it. I do have a opt out option at the end, and in the six months I have been doing it have only had one person opt out but still… I was essentially spamming them wasn’t I? (I can hear your heads nodding from here…)
But let’s think about this.
What are we doing when we send out a prospect mailing? It’s not “spam” because it’s not electronic. But we are sending our content to someone who doesn’t necessarily want it although we HOPE they do… What about email? I’m sure some of the people you email have opt’d in somewhere down the line right? But unless they have opt’d in directly with you – you have to be concerned about how they might receive your message…
My friend Chris Lombardo sent me this definition of spam:
The word “Spam” as applied to Email means Unsolicited Bulk Email (”UBE”).
Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.
A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk.
- Unsolicited Email is normal email (examples: first contact enquiries, job enquiries, sales enquiries)
- Bulk Email is normal email (examples: subscriber newsletters, customer communications, discussion lists)
It was the icing on the cake for me.
All I was trying to do was share the work I am doing, or the resources I come across with an audience who might care… but I shall spam no more!
After I hit the “publish” button I intend on spamming my email list once more begging for forgiveness and telling them to just hit the subscribe button and if they don’t I promise to not bug them again. And I ask the same of you – if you like some of my content, please just enter in your email and subscribe.
My name is John… and I am a spammer… and I am sorry.