SPAM!!! – What are the rules? – Case Study
Current Site Traffic
From a recent study, CompanyEC has found that we have a low level of returning visitors to our website. While we are receiving a high number of new visits per day, on average only 12% of our visitors per month are returning.
This is an issue that we have noticed and today I would like to introduce to you the solution on gaining more return visits.
The method that I will present to you today is called bulk email marketing. “A Direct Marketing Association study found that email marketing is second only to search engine marketing as a top method of driving traffic to Web sites.” This marketing will target users who have specifically opted–in to our mailing list to receive updates on new sales, discounts and other company information.
In addition, this campaign will allow for us to lower the cost of developing promotional hard copy, printing, packaging, postage, and other material. Email marketing is also known to yield a much higher response rate than traditional mailings.
What is SPAM?
If you have ever heard of the term bulk marketing, then you have probably also heard the term SPAM used to describe it.
The question is, what is “spam”?
SPAM is the acronym used for Specifically Persecuted Advertising Mail
The term spam was first used in the early 1990s to describe e–mail messages, not related to the topic of discussion and postings that swamped newsgroups. Spam is frequently described as e–mail that is sent in bulk; flooding the Internet with copies of the same message and forcing these unwanted messages on Internet users who might otherwise have chosen not to receive them. Rich, R. Lloyd. (1999).
Most spam is considered commercial advertising and it has received its bad name of spam due to it often relating to “dubious products, get–rich–quick schemes, or quasi–legal services”. Spamming normally consist of targeting a bulk list of users simultaneously with theadvertisement. (Rich, R. Lloyd, 1999).
The CAN–SPAM Act
CAN–SPAM Act of 2003 is an acronym, which stands for: Controlling the Assault of Non–Solicited Pornography and Marketing.
The CAN–SPAM Act of 2003 was signed into law on December 16, 2003 by President George W. Bush. This law was the United State’s first attempt at a national regulation for the sending of commercial email. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for regulating and enforcing the law. (Spam Laws, 2009).
The Can–Spam act consists of setting the rules and regulations for commercial messages and emails. In addition, it gives the recipients the rights to have the sender of the spam to stop emailing them.
The can–spam act also has tough penalties for those who do get caught spamming without abiding by the rules of it. Violation of theCAN–SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 (Federal Communications Commission, 2010).
A well–known case of spam involved the popular social networking site Facebook and Sanford Wallace and two others in February 2009 alleging they used phishing sites or other means to fraudulently gain access to Facebook accounts and used them to distribute phishing spam throughout the network. Sanford hacked into user accounts and sent as many as 30 million junk e–mails a day in the 1990s. (Mills, Elinor, 2009).
The result of this case was that Sanford was charged and had to pay a fine of $711 million.
This is an extreme case of spamming that has a perfectly reasonable outcome. This kind of spamming should be penalized and this person should get what he deserves. However, we defiantly don’t plan to hack into accounts and utilize another company or websites server to our advantage. That isnt our goal, nor will we do it under any circumstance.
The fact is that unsolicited Spam has absolutely no benefits. It is unethical, notoriously low converting, and can even land you in jail – or leave you with millions of dollars worth of fines.
Bulk Mailing Can–SPam
Our bulk mailing list will only include solicited advertising to an opted–in list of users. We have no plans to spam illegally.
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, which has a primary purpose of commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” this could also include email that promotes commercial websites and its content.
The rules stand strong rather if they are sent to current, previous or potential customers. Business–to–business emails also have no exception to the rules. All emails must comply with the laws.
SPAM and the First Amendment.
Many have stated that spam is simply an act of our first amendment right. I myself personally agree. However, this right doesn’t give everyone the right to solicit their commercial business or product to anyone they choose or to however many email addresses they can find. No one wants to be solicited by products or services that they didn’t sign up for or products or services that they have no interest in.
And for that reason, our marketing plan has no desire to spam using this method. We will only market to those who are interested in our services. If they choose that they aren’t interested any longer, they simple unsubscribe to that newsletter. We aren’t going to make it hard for them. We don’t plan to keep pushing our service to someone who isnt interested. Because if we did, that wouldn’t benefit us.
The fact is that we will have people who will mark our messages as spam. We will have subscribers who unsubscribe to our mailings. We will possibly even get a few hate emails from prospects that are upset that their name is on our mailing list.
Nonetheless, if we create a great list of users interested in our services, which we will, we will ultimately have more sales. We will create a strong list of users who are glad that they have signed up for our mailings because they were able to find out when we had a new promotion or discount. We will have users tell their friends about our new service line. We will also have thank you emails from customers who are grateful that we are offering and promoting such great services.
With that said, while the first amendment does give us freedom to say what it is that we want to say. It works even better when we say it to people who want to hear it. People who will voluntarily sign up to hear what it is that we want to say. The plan is to create a list just like that. Our mailing list will include users who volunteered their information. We’ll create this list from asking current and previous customers. Any time a user signs up for our services, we will ask them if they also want to sign up for our newsletter program. In addition, we’ll add an opt–in box on our website which will allow for potential customers to sign up. By creating our list this way, we will create a strong list of subscribers who will be happy to receive our emails.
The question is, is it truly considered spam if we are marketing web design services to individuals who are interested in web design services? Should all commercial email advertising be punished because authorities consider it spam? No. I don’t agree with that, nor is that the law. We have never illegally spammed, nor do we have any plans to illegally spam.
The Advantages of SPAM
We wont be buying a bulk list of prospects in order to spam their email account.
In addition, we will also include a link so that users can easily unsubscribe to our e–marketing service if they no longer wish to receive emails form us.
How we will follow the rules
The rules to spamming state:
Don’t use false or misleading header information.
In response to this rule, we will make sure that our headers are not misleading. A way to make sure of this is to match our headings to the message body. If the body of the message is to promote our upcoming sale on business cards, our header will read: Save on Business Cards
Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
Okay. We will make sure that we are truthful and accurate in our subject lines. If we are looking to promote our 10% discount on our web design services for a particular month: the subject title will read: Save 10% on a new web design.
Identify the message as an ad.
Our mailings will include words such as sale, discount and will clearly state that it is an advertisement. We wont confuse our subscribers to think that it is a personal message.
Tell recipients where you’re located.
Our mailings will include our website address, phone number, return email address and physical address information within its footer. If users wanted to contact us, they could do so easily.
Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future emails from us.
Our mailings will include information on how to opt–out. This could include a link, which directs the users to our company’s opt–out web page. Here, users will be able to fill in their email address and press a button and they automatically become removed from our list.
Honor opt–out requests promptly.
We’ll make sure that our list is automated so that human error is less likely. Once the user clicks the opt–out button, they will receive a confirmation and our systems will be updated.
Avoid purchasing email list that may not have given valid permission.
We will be sure to create a list of users who have opted–in only. This will allow us to avoid upsetting recipients and will allow for us to create an accurate and targeted list of users.
(Federal Communications Commision, 2010).
The answer isnt to not spam, its to spam legally.
Here is an example advertisement of how we plan to use spam legally.
As you can see, this advertisement covers all of the guidelines.
- Its clearly an advertisement as it mentions discounts and sale information
- Has the company address and other contact information.
- Has a clear header and subject.
- Provides users with a way to opt out of receiving any further mailings.
In addition, it allows for us to
- Market our company brand and image.
- Advertise our services and products.
- Let users forward to a friend
- Connect users to our social networking sites
It’s a win–win for the recipient and for our company.
Yes: spamming is illegal. Mass unsolicited email is illegal. However, bulk marketing is perfectly legal.
The difference is that bulk email marketing can consist of an opt–in list of users who have signed up to a mailing list because they areinterested in the product or service. The legal part about this that we will utilize in our campaign is that it has a list of users who have opted–in to receive these messages from the company.
We will be sending these users highly targeted advertisements. We don’t plan to send emails about vitamins or new techware. Users who sign up will be interested in our services and news and will be linked back to our company website.
These individuals will consist of a list of users who have already shown a deep interest in our services.
How we benefit
Utilizing email marketing to attract attention to our services is a very effective way to turn prospects into clients. With this service, we can keep our users updated and familiar with our website and services. Bulk email marketing is a great way of ensuring that we receive valuable and repeat customer visits.
Federal Communications Commission. (2010). Can–spam: unwanted commercial electronic mail. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/policy/canspam.html
Federal Trade Commission. (2009). The can–spam act: a compliance guide for business. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm
Mills, Elinor. (2009). ‘Spam king’ could face criminal charges in facebook case. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://news.cnet.com/8301–1009_3–10264069–83.html
Zedtoo. (n.d.). Did you really mean to say spam is legal in the united states. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.zedtoo.demon.co.uk/no–spam/legal.html
Scott Hazen Mueller. (2010). Frequently asked questions about spam. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://spam.abuse.net/faq/
Rich, R. Lloyd. (1999). Internet legal issues: spam. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.publaw.com/spam.html
Spam Laws. (2009). The can–spam act of 2003. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.spamlaws.com/federal/index.shtml
eHow. (n.d.). How to abide by spam laws when sending mass emails. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.ehow.com/how_2040799_abide–spam–laws–sending–mass.html#ixzz0zIZqFToq