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You Might Be A Spammer If...

By Tracey E. Schelmetic
Editorial Director, Customer Inter@ction Solutions



It occurs to me that many people don't understand the difference between e-mail marketing and spam. This month's column was created as a tool to help e-mail marketers understand whether their business practices lie in the perfectly legal realm of e-business, or if they've crossed the line into e-mail of the canned, processed meat variety.

This public service announcement has been paid for by a certain incredibly angry business editor who often comes back to the office after a week's vacation to find her inbox in excess of 1,500 spam messages. She shall, of course, remain nameless.

You might be a spammer if:

' You've ever had to change the spelling of the product you sell, in order to get around e-mail filters. For example, if you sell 'stox' instead of 'stocks,' you're a spammer.

' The product you sell purportedly raises, smoothes, enlarges, reduces, shrinks, softens, hardens and either grows or eliminates hair on any part of the human body.

' The only meaning the words 'opt out' have for you is the approach you take to paying your federal income taxes.

' If it doesn't bother you in the slightest that half the individuals receiving your 'weekend V1agra' spam don't have the right plumbing for it anyway.

' If the words 'farmyard animals' appear in any portion of your message.

' If you have to route your 'marketing opportunities' through 27 different global nodes, many in countries no one has ever heard of, to avoid detection.

' If you're a three-person company but have enough telecommunications and Internet equipment to power Norway.

' If you're forced to keep all of your company's equipment and assets, save a few paperclips and a pencil sharpener, in the Cayman Islands.

' If your ISP has quietly engaged hit men to eliminate you, and your own mother has contributed to the funds for the contract.

' If, before you go on vacation, you have to rack your brain to find a country that won't arrest you the moment you set foot in the airport.

' The word 'harvest' no longer conjures up images of fall festivals, pumpkin pie, Indian corn and apples, but voracious software that combs the Internet looking for live victims.

' You've ever sent e-mail to the following addresses: [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected].

' Your blood ran cold when you read about the Russian Spam King who was bludgeoned to death in his own apartment in July, and the news was put in the 'Celebrations' section of the local newspaper.

' If your 'Men in Black' come from the Federal Trade Commission and not the CIA.

' Finally, you might be a spammer if you're convicted, put in jail, and even the serial killers won't talk to you in the exercise yard. CIS

The author may be contacted at [email protected].

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