Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On the Dark Side

That's how a friend of mine described it. Last month I started working for a company that makes email marketing software. It has been a real eye-opener. The company is in Alameda and it is called Goolara. Like most people, I had this image of email marketing that equated with spam. In fact, I'm finding that the folks here are far more anti-spam than the average person. "Email should offer something of value, not pester people," one of my co-workers said. One of the first things I learned was that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 changed things in a very positive way. You know that "Unsubscribe" button at the bottom of your email. For years, I thought that clicking on it simply led to more email. Back in the late 1990s this used to be true, but now it actually halts that particular email. If you are sent a promotional email that does not have an unsubscribe button, they are violating the CAN-SPAM act, so go ahead and mark them as spam. Any reputable company will include the unsubscribe button. Marking these folks as spam does a disservice to them as it can affect their ability to send email to people who may actually want it (yes, Google and the others pay attention when you say something is spam, so use your power wisely, Luke).