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Doing Your Part In the Battle Against Spam

By Darlene Bishop
Posted Friday, August 6, 2004

I recently read an article by another Internet marketer on ways to protect your email address from SPAMMERS. There were some good ideas in the article, for example:

*use a separate free email account to submit your url to FFA pages
*use another free email account to subscribe to ezines and newsgroups
*use yet another free email account to place classified ads in ezines

These suggestions have value. Not only regarding the issue of SPAM, but from a simple organizational standpoint. The principle is similar to using separate file folders or bins for each category of advertising. This makes sense and will make your advertising easier to track.

However, I have to disagree with another point stressed throughout the article. The author repeatedly states that *your* offer should go to every single SPAMMER who sends you an email. I beg to differ.

Sending SPAM - unsolicited email - to ANYONE, whether they have sent it to you first or not, is still SPAMMING. This does not help us win the war on SPAM as this author states - it just intensifies the battle!

Common sense tells us that we will never be rid of SPAM completely. Just as we have junk mail delivered by the USPS to our home and business mailboxes every day, we will have junk email delivered to our email boxes as well. It's unavoidable to a certain degree.

Common sense also says that the quickest and easiest way to deal with SPAM is to deal with it exactly as you deal with junk mail delivered by the Post Office. Drop it in file 13. Trash it. Hit that little, gray delete key and forget it. If you receive a politely stated offer to buy a product that you might reasonably be considered to have an interest in, it's not a crime for someone to send that offer without asking your permission. If you're not interested, just toss it in the garbage.

Now, before you go off the deep end, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I DO NOT and HAVE NEVER sent SPAM in my life, nor do I intend to. I don't like it, don't want it and don't respond to it. I report it when it's offensive, and try my best to discourage it in all my writing. But I also don't believe it's a mortal sin.

But, if rather than remain in the foxhole while the SPAM fight is raging, you want to get into the fight, there are at least two effective weapons you can use to wound the enemy.

1. If you really want someone to stop sending you SPAM, report them to their ISP.

This is what I do routinely when I receive vulgar or pornographic email. I am very offended by this and do not hesitate to report the offender. To contact the abuse department of an ISP, forward the *entire* message (they need to know all the details contained in it) to "abuse@their ISP." Be sure to include ".com" or ".net," etc. as appropriate.

None of the messages I've sent this way have been returned, and I always receive an email confirming receipt and thanking me for alerting them to this problem. I don't know that every single ISP uses this name format, but apparently, this mailbox name is a common one throughout ISP's.

Whether the ISP actually does anything to correct the problem is left in God's hands, but I've done my part in reporting it to them.

Think of it this way. If every single person who received SPAM from just one ISP client forwarded that message to the abuse department, volume of increase in that ISP's email would be in the thousand's. They would be forced to do *something* - if only out of self-defense!

2. Don't buy from ANYONE who sends you SPAM.

I have to admit, sometimes I've looked at offers for products that came to me unannounced and thought them to be well-written and worthwhile. But I absolutely refuse to buy from someone who sends me junk email. It's the principle.

SPAM is inappropriate. Period. The Internet community has made it perfectly clear that SPAM is not acceptable and there is no one who can pretend ignorance of that convention. Post to any newsgroup, take part in any discussion forum, or read any of the hundreds of free ezines on the web, and you will know immediately that SPAM is unacceptable. Therefore, to continue to send emails to people who have made it clear that the message is not wanted, is rude and uncouth. We don't purchase from rude or uncouth salespeople who knock on our doors or call us on the phone, why should we do so if they send us email?

Using SPAM is a marketing technique. Is it certainly not a marketing strategy. What entrepreneur who truly hopes to succeed in business on the web would use a strategy that enflames and irritates their prospective customers? It just doesn't make sense.

It's only when Internet users as a whole ignore SPAMMERS, report the abusive and offensive ones to their ISP's and stop responding to junk email will those who practice SPAM stop annoying us with this rude behavior. And only then will we be able to claim victory in the battle against SPAM.

About the Author
Darlene Bishop is a professional writer, editor and desktop publisher who specializes in working with WAHMs and home-based business owners. Discover how she can help you grow your business on a shoestring through affordable,
professional communications at ( - the newest online resource for WAHMs.


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