Bothered by spam? Here’s a way out


My colleague Andrew received a business card  from an attendee at Ladies That Lunch so he could put his details on the newsletter mailing list.

This is a very acceptable way of increasing your newsletter mailing list, adding on business cards willingly given is a form of permission. It is an alternative to the opt-in provision.

The trouble was, there was no email address, and the mailing list consists of email addresses. There was a website address, but further investigation showed the content page didn’t provide the necessary piece of information either, consisting only of a contact form.

Obviously this particular client had suffered from spam in the past, so by eliminating any chance of internet robots using his email link to bombard his in-box had prevented prospective clients from finding it and using it for real reasons.

Spam is a problem (in fact the CIM defines spam as malicious software that sends viruses to your computer, whereas unwanted emails should really be termed viral marketing used for the wrong reasons), but you can overcome this by using the words ’email me/John/us’ or whatever and using those words as a contextual link with the email address behind it.

Remember, this problem is exasperated only by robots, not necessarily humans, and we still should maintain the upper hand!


4 Responses

  1. Interesting approach.
    Here at Morgan PR we disagree!
    Just because people give you their business cards when you meet then does not mean you should subscribe them to a newsletter. They need to opt in and give you permission! The business card is simply consent to get back in touch. We’ve blogged about it: ‘A business card does not give permission to spam’.
    Also, hiding an email behind a contextual link does not actually hide it and it can still be captured by spammers. A comment on our blog actually explains an approach that does work.
    Keep up the good work and thanks for spurring me into creating a blog post on this topic too!

    • Nigel, I disagree. If the business card was willingly given by the owner for the distinct use of being added to a newsletter mailing list, it is therefore given with permission. The fact that there was no email address on the card is, in my mind, not very good marketing, as I wonder how many clients he will actually get if they find it so difficult to get in touch with him.

      I do not condone the increasingly obnoxious and even rude practice of taking business cards and adding them to newsletter mailing lists without a by-your-leave, it certainly results in unnecessary viral marketing that only annoys, irritates and clutters up valuable space in in-boxes.

      I am also sorry that you felt the need to write a post of your own that undermines ours, even if by doing so it boosts our viewing figures somewhat. Let’s hope they read what else we have to say and appreciate it all the more!

  2. Thanks Alice,
    Did you see the comment @CanDoCanBe left on our blog? Reading that and seeing your comment it is possible we are actually agreeing! She suggests you may not have been making the point I thought you were. Please do comment on my blog so that readers understand. If permission is given, verbally or otherwise to subscribe that is perfect. I thought you were suggesting cards could be collected and people signed up! It sounds now like with both abhor that approach. Delighted to hear that!
    I would say that being inspired to write a blog post of your own that further explores an issue is good blogging practice and the debates it can spark will boost all those involved. Hopefully it will save a few inboxes from spam!
    I like you blogs, that is why I RT them regularly and felt you were genuinely taking a different view and we are all entitled to a different opinion!

    • I suppose your comment could be constituted as an apology for writing your undermining post, but as I am so glad that Karen Skidmore has risen to my defense, I have left a suitable comment to your post to thank her and defend my honour in this situation.

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