Here’s the question: What is spam?
In 1990, spam was canned precooked meat products, made by Hormel Foods Corporation.
In 2000, spam was unsolicited bulk commercial email.
In 2010, spam is any email that is not wanted. This includes the unsolicited bulk commercial email, which continues to be sent in record numbers. And it also includes any email that was originally asked for, but now is no longer welcome. Maybe their interests have changed, maybe your emails are boring, maybe they get too much email, etc.
Many web email providers, such as AOL, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, have Report as Spam buttons, allowing their customers to designate any email as no longer wanted. These providers will relay that information back to the mailing list delivery service, asking them to take the person off of the list. These providers also keep track of how many people reported a message as spam, versus how many emails were not. If the ratio of bad emails becomes too high, then future sending privileges may be reduced or revoked.
Why is this important to you as a list owner or a newsletter sender? Well, what is spam then? Spam is what you don’t want your messages to be. If your mailing list gets shuffled into the spam folder, then most people will never even see it!
That means choosing a host that doesn’t associate with other spammers, as they could get labelled and sorted out into oblivion. It means avoiding certain keywords in your email subject such as “free” or… “enhanced.” It means never sending out emails unsolicited. And keeping solicited email relevant to your readers. If worst comes to worst, make sure that your list members remember to add your sending address to their white list or whatever list keeps your emails out of their spam folder.
No one likes spam, at least not the email kind.
Having trouble keeping your email clean of, not just spam, but everything? Check out this blog on how to keep your email empty.