-- How Much Will it Cost Your
By Shelley Lowery
According to a recent study conducted by Ferris Research, a
market and technology research firm specializing in messaging
and collaboration, Spam will have cost U.S. businesses over
$10 billion in 2003.
Spam not only clogs our servers and in-boxes, but it also
costs us hours and hours of lost time in productivity.
Although the estimated cost of Spam focuses mainly on lost
productivity, this picture may be much broader than you realize.
Some of the more popular email providers, such as AOL (America
Online), Yahoo! and Hotmail, are now utilizing filters to cut
down on Spam. These filters are dumping Spam and/or bulk
mailings into a separate location. Although this may cut down
on Spam in your in-box, these filters are also dumping some
legitimate email messages.
What's more, some hosting services not only filter the email
messages, but they're also blocking entire hosting companies.
For example, the blocking host may have gotten some Spam
complaints about a few marketers that host with ABC hosting
company. (Keep in mind, ABC hosting company may host thousands
of sites.) Rather than block the offending marketers, the
blocking host decides to blacklist the entire ABC host.
What this means is if you
try to contact someone and their hosting company has
blacklisted your host, your email will not go through --
it will bounce right back to you.
If you suspect you
may not be receiving all of your email, contact your host and
ask them if they're using Spam filters or have blocked entire
How Much Will Spam Cost Your Business?
How much time do you spend sorting through the Spam in your
email each day? Add it up sometime -- I'll bet you'll find
you spend a lot more time than you even realized -- time that
could have been spent on your business.
If you're publishing an ezine or sending out any form of opt-in
mailings, how many subscribers are actually receiving your
mailings? Most-likely, not nearly as many subscribers as you
may think. How many lost sales has this cost you?
How many messages, such as information requests, customer
support requests, etc., have you not received due to filtering?
How many messages have you replied to that your customers or
potential customers have never received due to filtering?
As customer service says a lot about your business practices,
how many customers will you lose?
The list goes on and on. But
the point is this, Spam is costing you dearly.
Your Email Address
So how can you defend yourself? Well, it depends on which
side you're on -- how to protect yourself, and/or how to make
sure your messages are getting through.
In order to protect yourself against Spam, you first need to
understand how your email address is obtained.
There are many unethical businesses online that collect and
sell email addresses. They use robots that travel from link to
link in search of email addresses. Their customers are led
to believe that these email addresses belong to individuals who
want to receive mailings. However, much of the time, this isn't
Never purchase a list of
email addresses from anyone other than a reputable
company I can recommend is Post Master Direct. http://www.postmasterdirect.com
To protect your email address from these robots, instead of
displaying your address on your site, use a feedback form.
Not just any type of form, but a form that doesn't display your
email address within the hidden form fields. The only form I can
recommend is Master Feedback. You can pick up a free copy here:
Anytime you're filling out a form online and you're asked to
provide your email address, make sure you review the site's
sold or shared with a third party.
Protecting Your In-box
To protect your in-box, you can use a Spam filtering software
program. Although there are several available online, the
best one I've found is Mail Washer. This program will enable you
to view all the email on your server without actually
downloading it into your email program. Once you've reviewed
your messages, you can create filters and bounce the Spam
messages back to the sender. Although you can pick up the
program free, consider supporting the developer and register the
software for a small fee.
Avoiding the Spam Filters
If you're sending out a mailing to an opt-in list, there are
a few steps you can take to make sure your message won't trip
the Spam filters:
1) Avoid using trigger words, such as Spam, fr*e, r*move,
etc. Although the list is far too broad to list here, you can
learn more by reading the following articles:
Spam Filters Run-Amuck by Timothy A. Gross
CLIP & SAVE guide to avoiding Spam filters by Debbie Weil
3) Avoid using "bad" words.
If you'd like to ensure your messages are getting through,
consider opening email accounts with the popular providers. You
can send your mailings to these accounts and monitor their
reception. If your mailings land in the dump, you can make
some adjustments or even contact the company.
If you would like to test your outgoing email messages to
ensure they won't trigger a Spam filter, Ken Evoy offers a
great service called SpamCheck. This free service will
enable you to send a copy of your publication, or any email
message, to a specific address and it will return a report of
possible words that will trigger the Spam filters.
Follow these instructions to Send your publication including the
subject and body for a
The Spam problem continues to get progressively worse.
Although there isn't a simple solution to the problem, the
information provided in this article should assist you in not
only avoiding Spam, but also avoiding the filters for your
It's really a shame we're even in this position. However, we
cannot allow Spam to continue to infiltrate our businesses.
We must take the necessary steps to ensure our success.
Copyright (c) Shelley Lowery 2003. All Rights Reserved
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of several successful ebooks
including Web Design Mastery - An in-depth guide to professional
web design. Ebook Starter - A Complete Ebook Design Kit, and
eZines: A Complete Guide to Publishing for Profit. Subscribe to
Etips and receive a free copy of her highly acclaimed ebook,
"Killer Internet Marketing Strategies." http://www.web-source.net
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