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Email Insights for Your Internet Business!

By Jill Lewis
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If you are just getting started in your own Internet business then you need to understand the basics of email and how to use it in your business. This article will cover the basics of common e-mail language, Plus… the good, the bad, and the ugly of e-mail etiquette.

Here are some tips about what to say and more importantly what not to say in electronic mail. E-mail is a funny hybrid, something between a phone call and a letter. It's great because it is usually quick and informal, but can be a problem because you don't see the person's facial expressions or hear a tone of voice. So, here are a few words of advice:

- When you send a message, watch the tone of your language. - Don't use all capital letters, because it looks like you are SHOUTING
- If someone sends you an incredibly obnoxious and/or offensive message, most likely it's just sarcasm that didn't come across that way.

There is also something we call flaming. Flaming is pointless and excessive outrage in electronic mail. Unfortunately, this is very common. My advice is that when you receive flaming, instead of responding right away, sit on it, and don't flame back. You will look like a jerk. You will never regret not sending an angry message, but you will most likely regret sending it. People have no idea what you intended to say, only what you did say. Subtle sarcasm and irony are close to impossible to use. If you want to make sure they know you are joking, use a smiley J. (Colon, dash, right parenthesis)

Always keep in mind that e-mail is only relatively private, not totally. You always take the chance that your email will be forwarded on to someone else. So never write anything that you wouldn't mind seeing on the next message board.

You will often see abbreviations in e-mail the same as you would on message boards, mainly because people are generally lazy typists. Here are just a few of the most widely used:

AFAIK As far as I know
BTW By the way
IANAL I am not a lawyer, (but…) IMHO In my humble opinion
ROTFL Rolling on the floor laughing RSN Real soon now
RTM Read the Manual
TIA Thanks in advance

Another biggy in Internet Marketing is spamming! Spam is otherwise known as unwanted e-mail, or junk e-mail that usually promotes unsavory advertising for get-rich-quick schemes or even pornographic offers. The practice of sending these unwanted e-mails is called spamming. E-mail is only considered spam if it is unsolicited. Meaning if you ask for it directly or indirectly, then it isn't spam. My advice – Don't ever spam. You could be kicked off your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and worse.

Lastly, you need to understand about viruses. These days most viruses are spread via e-mail, as attachments to mail messages. Therefore don't ever open attachments from people you don't know, and even people you do know if you weren't expecting it. The Melissa virus from the spring of '99 replicated itself by sending copies of itself to the first 50 people in your address book, people who know you. It is also advisable to get a firewall (a security system for your computer), if you are going to spend any significant time on the Internet, especially if you have a cable modem.

Hopefully, these tidbits of advice will help you in your Internet adventures. So remember, always play nice, take precautions, and treat others as you would like to be treated.

About the Author
Jill Lewis is webmaster of (, Free Netinsights for Your Internet Business. Get the latest tips and tricks on Internet marketing by subscribing to her free Netinsights series of reports, and receive two free e-books as a bonus.


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