What isn’t spam?

Relates to article from Silicon.com

While I was working on anti spam projects this was a question that came up all the time. The challenge of spam is that the definition of it is a kind of continuum, with email that you want and value at one end and crappy porno, and scam related junk mail at the other end. In between though there is a grey are that generates a lot of passion from people.

In Australia I am actually quite happy with the definition that has been established in the 2003 Spam Act. This basically requires an organisation to either have specific permission to contact someone that they have an existing relationship with or to make a first contact to request that permission. This should put the onus on the business properly establish permission to communicate further.

The use of raw email lists to generate leads therefore becomes prohibited. The other important requirement of the Spam Act was in providing email recipients with the ability to easily adn quickly unsubscribe from the communications

Where the grey seeps in is where a business starts to send messages that do not relate to the original relationship. This actually shouldn’t be a problems when combined with the unsubscribe functions. For example if a magazine that I buy has a number of ad’s in it but also provides relevant content then I will continue to read it. However if they start stuffing the content with irrelevant advertising I have a choice – Buy the mag again or don’t. With a working unsubscribe, I have the ability to not ‘buy’ their messages.

So this might just work for Australian email marketing but it doesn’t apply to the rest of the world but it is a start

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