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Just so you're aware...

September 18 2004 at 10:41 AM
Ken Silver 

Response to Spam - my cautionary tale (long)


To make it quite clear, GetResponse isn't the culprit here.

Now, I'm not saying this because I want to curry any favors from them - there are plenty of other autoresponder and mailing list services out there. But I haven't found any as good, and I intend staying with them. My experience in life has shown that most times it's easier to fix a problem than to start afresh.

No, the blame has to be mine, for this reason...

Most Netters (yep, we're just 1 letter away from Nutters!) don't read. Or when we do read, it's often only the important stuff... headlines, bold pars, boxed words. We're all frantically busy, and in the crazy 21st century time is the new god. Fast words are important.

One of the biggest problems today is that many people don't read and interpret the written word in the same way:

- They don't like long, convoluted sentences with big words (what word should I have killed there?)
- They don't read the small print.
- They forget they subscribed with you - even an hour later, as I found in one case.
- If they don't like you or your email through length, frequency or tone, they'll shout "Spam" to the ISP and have you thrown off the planet.

So quite obviously I didn't put the important stuff in the right place so they could see it.

For example, in the introductory email they get sent automatically after joining me, I should have put an obvious confirmation right at the top in the body of the message:

Hi (their personalised name), you requested this email...

I already put in the subject line: "Here's the information you requested..." so this body copy statement is a further reinforcement and confirmation. This should come top of the page in case they've forgotten about their sign-up, or haven't identified me.

Should I do a 2-step confirmation sign-up to further protect my butt? I don't think this will help. If someone objects to my content, no amount of "proof of subscription" will stop them from complaining. But I'm open to comment.

Where I am up to at the moment?

Well, I'm waiting to hear back from Darcey at GetResponse with some suggestions I had for him. Then I'm going to revise my GetResponse subscriber sign-ups. Then I will look at finishing a further statement in my autoresponder messages that will strengthen my position with unwanted email. I'll keep you posted as I do them.

I still have the existing problem with getting new AOL subscribers through GetResponse, and contacting the thousands of other AOL'ers who are wondering why my emails to them have suddenly been cut off. I'm working on that too.

Then I will consider a further drastic step I had always been reluctant to implement. More about that shortly.

In the meantime, I'm off to polish my Jaguar. Cleaning my collection is therapeutic for me - just as gardening is for others - but they both have to be done again a week later!

Ken Silver.

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