A major news site ran a recent poll about dealing with SPAM which, of course, is a topic that’s very relevant to emailers everywhere.
Slightly fewer than 14,000 individuals took part, and these were the results:
- 5% of people said they’d change their mobile/e-mail address
- 28% said they tend to ignore spam and hope it goes away
- 51% ask to opt out when they get any unwanted email
- 16% of respondents would try to sue the advertisers. (Yikes! Are you absolutely sure all your own subscribers have consented to receiving emails from you and are still interested? Better send an “update your profile” newsletter using one of our suitably designed 2011 Editor Templates to double check!)
While all of these are common and fairly reasonable responses to spam; it’s even better for everyone to just take a few steps to make sure you’ll be getting little to no junk emails to begin with.
Here are our top 6 tips for avoiding SPAM:
1) Do not submit your email address to websites or companies that you’re unfamiliar with and / or have no reason to trust
You wouldn’t think of giving your mobile number to strangers, after all – the same justification applies to your email address.
2) Avoid publicly advertising your address on any websites and forums where you do not have complete control of your own privacy
If for some reason you would need to include an email address, try to obscure it for spam bots. Writing it like myaddress at mydomain dot com might help stop spam bots from recognizing it, instead of using firstname.lastname@example.org
Often there is a text box that you need to select to opt out of receiving email marketing material from the company in question – be it a form that you fill out in when visiting a shop or an online procedure that you’re required to fill out when purchasing goods.
4) Create separate addresses for core communications and disposable ones for general use
- It would be a good idea to have one email account for your banking, mortgage, e-statements and so on – all of your essential life necessities. This core address would then be the email address that you never disclose to anyone and that’s not central to your daily/monthly functioning (i.e. anything that you don’t want to miss out on).
- A disposable address is an inbox that you will typically use when a store asks you to fill out your details for purposes such as future specials, club membership or anything that’s not important to you or that you want to specifically keep separate. In other words, it’s an address that you will typically give to your mother in-law, or that bakery you secretly visit every so often when you’re actually supposed to be dieting.
5) Mark unwanted mail as spam
Email services such as Hotmail and Gmail will create a filter to automatically spot all future mail from that source as junk and it will submit a complaint against the network that sent the mail to reputation monitoring services. If there are many complaints generated by that sender, your email service will completely block the sender.
A good email marketing company will ensure that their users include unsubscribe options in all email headers and / or footers.
With that said, many people believe that clicking an unsubscribe link actually confirms to a spammer that the user exists/actively reads their mail.
In this case any unsubscribe options would probably just be for show, and won’t have the effect you’d want.
The key is to learn how to single out legitimate and illegitimate mail; use report spam for illegitimate messages, and unsubscribe for legitimate mails that you simply don’t want.