The success of email is unquestionable, but sadly no one uses it more intensely than spammers.

Investigations have shown that 60% to 90% of all emails are spam, which costs individual users time and nerves, small and medium enterprises tens of thousands dollars, and for big Internet providers millions dollars per year - taking into consideration that a spam transmission can be directed to up to one million receivers.

The damage caused by spam to the worldwide economy continues to skyrocket and as always, threatens the reputation of the medium. So, whenever you plan an email marketing campaign, make sure that you are not violating the spam laws of your country or your Internet Service Provider's conventional user policy.

You think this is manageable?

That’s great! But let’s face the truth: even if you and your company follow the specified legislation, there is no guarantee that you will not be branded a spammer.

Even if you are in full compliance with all the anti-spam laws around the world, you can still get into trouble and be accused of spamming. The reasons are quite obvious:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or global players like Google or Yahoo!, provide the medium to go online and therefore have the power to stop anyone from using their systems, if they believe them to be spammers. As ISPs suffer most from an operative as well as financial aspect, national governments tend to give them a lot of power to influence their anti-spam legislation. It has generally become accepted that the law allows local ISPs to initiate civil lawsuits to seek compensation from identified spammers for damage(s) caused. As the use of automated spamming software is usually outlawed as well, individuals or companies found using such tools could also be sued by Internet Service Providers without any problems.
  • In addition to ISPs, other people who can block your email are corporate mail managers, not to mention each individual recipient. Nowadays, email users can easily scan and block their incoming emails with just a few keystrokes by using the "mail block" or "block sender" feature in their email program. But let’s stick to the business sector. Most companies have someone in charge of their email system, who has to block all spam. If your emails get classified as spam, they not only block that particular message, but often blacklist your email address. It is all a question of perception, and is thus subjective, as the methods of ISPs and corporate postmasters demonstrate. Generally, their decisions on when an email is considered spam depends on the subject line of your email message and sometimes even your company name/sender address and the number of complaints as well as who complains. If, for instance, their CEO complains about being spammed, you can bet that the email is blocked. The situation can be even worse if busy managers are gung-ho and don't take their time to carefully examine each case of suspected spam before they take action.
  • I don’t want to meet trouble halfway, but as ISPs, many major corporate and governmental mail managers are well-connected, you can bet that if you are blocked by one, you will also find yourself quickly blocked by others.
  • Then there are email discussion groups and bulletin boards that often pass the word when they spot a suspected spammer. It is extremely easy to land on the famous blocking list, called the "Black Hole", where from time to time, even big company names appear next to all the other “obvious” junk e-mailers. If an email administrator believes that you are sending spam, you could also easily find yourself being blacklisted in the Spam Prevention Early Warning System (SPEWS). This anonymous service administers a list of IP addresses that belong to Internet Service Providers that are hosting known spammers and who show little, if any, engagement to prevent abuse of other network resources. It can be used by Internet sites as a source of information about the senders of unsolicited bulk email.

Well, no one ever said that life is fair, so the best thing to do is to ensure you don’t get labelled a spammer!