Are Offline Marketing emails considered spam?

17 replies
Hi

I was in the process of sending out some emails to a bunch of Australian, Canadian, UK & US companies about a new service I am offering. I know this is a well known practice with offliners so I wanted to get your opinion on this.

The services I am offering are truthful and legit and not some link to an affiliate or CPA offer. But after sending out a few of these, I received an automated response from an Australian company saying the following:

"Subject:Considered UNSOLICITED BULK EMAIL, apparently from you".
A message from <abc@12345.xxx> to: -> so and so was considered unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE). Our internal reference code for your message is Ref#.From what I read US Can-Spam act considers (supposedly) spam emails to be acceptable provided that the service offered is truthful and genuine. I know the Aussie rules are somewhat different. Am I treading on dangerous waters and if so which Countries deem such email to be unacceptable? I have a list of German, French, Spanish and Japanese emails as well for which I would like to send an email letting them know about my new service. And no, none of these emails were obtained through a double opt-in. They were all scraped.

Thanks in advance
#considered #emails #marketing #offline #spam
  • Profile picture of the author MichaelParsons
    It depends on where you scraped them. You may be on thin ice...

    I use a similar approach, but I use either the email on the website or the web form on the contact page. Using the contact page ensures it gets through.

    Some businesses have the "Bulk" or "spam" filter set VERY high, so only white-listed addresses get through.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Originally Posted by Vibrant Warrior View Post

    Hi

    I was in the process of sending out some emails to a bunch of Australian, Canadian, UK & US companies about a new service I am offering. I know this is a well known practice with offliners so I wanted to get your opinion on this.

    The services I am offering are truthful and legit and not some link to an affiliate or CPA offer.
    If you want to be taken seriously, do not send out bulk emails to random businesses that you:

    A) Know nothing about (especially in regards to what problems they require solutions for)

    B) Have no reason to believe, like, or trust you.

    Even my own marketing company receives DOZENS of "emails" a day from people offering lame SEO marketing / online marketing offers.

    You are most likely wasting a lot of time, and possibly placing yourself at legal risk, by continuing to do what you do...and I can almost guarantee that no business will give you the time of day, let alone follow-up your email with a request for more information.

    Quality > Quantity.

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author Vibrant Warrior
    Appreciate that. I get all my emails from the Yellow Pages and sometimes from websites so they are basically publicly available email addresses. I didn't see anything wrong in that until I read that email.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek Salfen
    Don't send out bulk. Take the time to address your potential customer and I don't see the problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vibrant Warrior
    Great advice guys! Thanks a mill.
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    You can file this under "costs of doing business". It's up to you.

    There are still guys that do Fax Marketing, and that's illegal. There are still tons of people doing VB (voice broadcasting), and that's illegal. There are tons of guys doing email spamming, and that's illegal.

    You just weight the pro's and con's of doing that type of marketing.

    BUT... If you ARE going to do it, just make sure you give people the option to "OPT-OUT" to your email blasts in the future. Put something at the bottom of your email address. That will, at least, safe-guard you a little bit, but if someone has an itch up there "behind" to take you down, you might be fighting a little.
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    • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
      Originally Posted by Voasi View Post

      You can file this under "costs of doing business". It's up to you.

      There are still guys that do Fax Marketing, and that's illegal. There are still tons of people doing VB (voice broadcasting), and that's illegal. There are tons of guys doing email spamming, and that's illegal.
      Broadcast fax is not illegal. Unsolicited broadcast fax is. There are rules and many if not most follow those rules.

      Voice broadcast is not completely illegal either. Check with an industry lawyer. There are legal ways to do this still.
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  • Profile picture of the author brucemcc
    One way to avoid getting hit with a 'bulk email' charge is don't send out bulk email. Even if I am scraping emails from Google Places I start with the same email for each person, but customize the first paragraph, and make some changes through out the email. Using their name, business name, industry, etc...
    When they get this email, it is truly written to them specifically. It really doesn't take that much time, and the extra time it does take pays of in the response rate.
    Bruce
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  • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
    Lets see... Spam = Unsolicited Email.


    Unsolicited is defined as
    Originally Posted by from google

    Sent to a person who has not specifically requested to receive communications from the sender and with whom the sender does not have a prior business or personal relationship, or to a person who has previously requested not to receive communications from the sender (ie, has opted out).
    If they aren't on your list and you don't have a business relationship with them then it is spam.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ouroboros
    Headfirst,

    You said "If they aren't on your list and you don't have a business relationship with them then it is spam."

    That isn't true at all. That would make personal emails "spam".

    The definition of spam in the Can-Spam (sp?) is basically unsolicited emails sent in bulk to people that didn't solicit it. As someone said above, if you personalize the presentation for each individual contact, it is no longer "bulk" and would be legal, as long as you don't repeatedly email the same individual after no initial response.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author John Pawlett
    I see posts like this all the time about emailing businesses so I am hoping to put the record straight here.

    Email marketing used properly is as near to pure direct response marketing as you can get, I see a lot of people advocating one type of marketing over another, come on guys have you not heard of the ‘marketing mix’ you should use everything at your disposal to get clients.

    The rules for email marketing are very simple:

    1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
    2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
    3. Identify the message as an ad.
    4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
    5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
    6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
    7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

    So a properly written email would look something like this:

    Sent From: John Pawlett [john.pawlett@fastgrowth.co.uk]

    Subject: There are 720 people searching for an Electrician in Hull, Imagine if they could find you!

    Body: I specialise in getting my clients more customers and making them money… Etc

    Footer: Tel: 0777 22 141 88
    Skype: john.pawlett
    MSN: john_pawlett@hotmail.com
    Email: john.pawlett@FastGrowth.co.uk

    This is an advertisement and a promotional mail strictly on the guidelines of CAN-SPAM act of 2007 . We have clearly mentioned the source mail-id of this mail, also clearly mentioned the subject lines and they are in no way misleading in any form. We have found your mail address through our own efforts on the web search and not through any illegal way.

    If you find this mail unsolicited, please reply with "Remove" in the subject line and we will take care that you do not receive any further promotional mail.

    My Home Address

    As you can see this email complies completely with the act.

    Using this method I can send out thousands of emails for myself and clients daily without falling foul of the law.

    Guy’s don’t be put off about what you hear regarding spamming most of its untrue. The most interesting thing is that most people doing online marketing get it wrong and with some of the deceptive subject lines I have seen like putting ‘Re’ in front of your subject line could be subject to a $16,000 fine for each email sent.

    Email marketing works full stop, if it didn’t the list brokers that I have seen around since the 90’s would have gone out of business a long time ago and all of the top 500 companies would have stopped using it.

    The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

    Do you use email in your business? The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

    Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

    Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated. Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

    1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

    2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.

    3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.

    4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.

    5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.

    6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

    7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

    I hope this is helpful

    John
    PS. Does anyone else find the name CAN-Spam ironic!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jude.A
    Thanks John Pawlett, for clarifying things here. Now i know how to go about email marketing the proper way. Thanks again.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Pawlett
    Originally Posted by Vibrant Warrior View Post

    so I wanted to get your opinion on this.

    The services I am offering are truthful and legit and not some link to an affiliate or CPA offer. But after sending out a few of these, I received an automated response from an Australian company saying the following:
    In my above post I forgot to answer the OP's post directly.

    I wouldn't worry about it as it was automated, providing you follow the rules of the CAN-Spam act you will be OK.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author netcowboy
      John,

      You are one of the few on this forum who gets how to use email marketing the right way. I email thousands of people every week with opt in lists I purchase by the millions. I not only have their permission to email them but get the full data record of the date they opted in, their name, birth date, IP, physical address, phone number and the web site they signed up with.

      If I'm ever questioned about spam I have the proof I can provide to any authority that the person who received the email did opt in and gave their permission so that covers me. That is how to do permission email marketing and yes it takes a few extra steps but the rewards are worth it.

      You don't have to spam people with junk offers that everyone else sends. In fact you most likely will make very little doing that. But if you know how to write a few lines that perks someones interest from targeted leads, there is no limit as to how much you can make.

      Think about this, If I purchase email data from people who have given their permission to get information on Nascar related items and send them a CPA offer related to Nascar how well do you think I would do?

      If I purchase a singles only list and send them a dating offer, think I'll get any takers? If you know how to market with email the right way, it becomes a numbers game. Big numbers equals great money. Don't let anyone tell you email marketing is dead because they are only stealing a great business model from you. Just learn to do it right because I see so many doing it wrong.
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      • Profile picture of the author roypreece
        Originally Posted by netcowboy View Post

        I not only have their permission to email them but get the full data record of the date they opted in, their name, birth date, IP, physical address, phone number and the web site they signed up with.

        If I'm ever questioned about spam I have the proof I can provide to any authority that the person who received the email did opt in and gave their permission so that covers me.
        I had given up emailing people unless they signed up on one of my websites, out of fear of the CAN-Spam Act.

        Thank you for this.

        I'm going to look into mailing other people's lists again (if they can provide this data)
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  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    I try to do what John suggested, however I don't require they respond to get off of my list. I state this is a one time offer and a one time email. If they are not interested then I never mail them back. If you construct your offer well you should get a decent response. I think a problem with a lot of offers is they are so generic they scream spam, if it is personalized (use mail merge for goodness sake, that's what it is for) and the offer is compelling you should be fine.

    Also, put at the bottom you conform to the CAN-SPAM act, blah blah blah.
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