Is It Ever OK To Advertise By E-Mail?

The only acceptable form of e-mail advertising is called opt-in. This is when you SPECIFICALLY REQUEST that a company put your name on their mailing list. And this is only acceptable if there is a good confirmation process to determine that YOU – and not somebody trying to get either you or the marketing company in hot water – are the one who actually submitted your e-mail address. Right now it’s very common for morons to submit other people’s e-mail addresses to opt-in lists either as a joke or an act of revenge.

Another important requirement for an opt-in list is that the confirmation process require a REPLY TO CONFIRM, with a specific code imbedded in the subject line for security purposes – again, to ensure that the reply is from YOU. A no reply should automatically remove your name from the list. Why is this important? Think about it – how many times have you been spammed with the instructions to reply to remove your address? Almost every spam? This is a traditional spammer trick to harvest live, active e-mail addresses to sell to other spammers. Therefore, nobody will ever trust an opt-in list that requires a reply to remove.

Many e-mail marketers are pushing the idea of opt-out. The way this supposedly works is that an advertiser sends you UCE with instructions for removal of your name from their mailing list. Some of them even try to lend legitimacy to this method by requiring that the spam be labeled as Advertisement, assumedly to make it easier for you to determine whether or not you want to read it. This is UNACCEPTABLE for two main reasons:

Many people are already receiving upwards of 50+ pieces of spam per day, all from different advertisers. As noted above, if Unsolicited Commercial E-mail became an approved method of marketing, these numbers would skyrocket. The victimized netizen would be spending ever-increasing amounts of time requesting to be removed from mailing lists that he never wanted to be on in the first place.
It’s been attempted before and proven unworkable. If you request to be removed from a mailing list, you are depending on the moral standards of the spammer to honor your request. So far the vast majority of spammers have shown themselves to be completely devoid of any ethics. Anybody who has requested removal from a mailing list can attest to this – a removal request normally INCREASES the amount of spam received because it has historically been used as a validation of the requestor’s e-mail address. Not only will the spammer not honor your request, but he will then have yet another “fresh” e-mail address to sell to other spammers.