Spam -- How Much Will
it Cost Your Business?
to a recent study conducted by Ferris Research, a market and technology research
firm specializing in messaging and collaboration, Spam will cost U.S. businesses
over $10 billion in 2003.
Spam not only
clogs our servers and in-boxes, but it also costs us hours and hours of lost
time in productivity.
Although the estimated cost of Spam focuses mainly on lost productivity,
this picture may be much broader than you realize.
Some of the more popular email providers, such as AOL (America Online), Yahoo!
and Hotmail, are now utilizing filters to cut down on Spam. These filters
are dumping Spam and/or bulk mailings into a separate location. Although
this may cut down on Spam in your in-box, these filters are also dumping
some legitimate email messages.
What's more, some hosting services not only filter the email messages, but
they're also blocking entire hosting companies. For example, the blocking
host may have gotten some Spam complaints about a few marketers that host
with ABC hosting company. (Keep in mind, ABC hosting company may host thousands
of sites.) Rather than block the offending marketers, the blocking host decides
to blacklist the entire ABC host.
What this means is if you try to contact someone and their hosting company
has blacklisted your host, your email will not go through -- it will bounce
right back to you.
If you suspect you may not be receiving all of your email, contact your host
and ask them if they're using Spam filters or have blocked entire hosting
How Much Will
Spam Cost Your Business?
How much time
do you spend sorting through the Spam in your email each day? Add it up sometime
-- I'll bet you'll find you spend a lot more time than you even realized
-- time that could have been spent on your business.
If you're publishing an ezine or sending out any form of opt-in mailings,
how many subscribers are actually receiving your mailings? Most-likely, not
nearly as many subscribers as you may think. How many lost sales has this
How many messages, such as information requests, customer support requests,
etc., have you not received due to filtering?
How many messages have you replied to that your customers or potential customers
have never received due to filtering?
As customer service says a lot about your business practices, how many customers
will you lose?
The list goes on and on. But the point is this, Spam is costing you dearly.
Your Email Address
So how can you
defend yourself? Well, it depends on which side you're on -- how to protect
yourself, and/or how to make sure your messages are getting through.
In order to protect yourself against Spam, you first need to understand how
your email address is obtained.
There are many unethical businesses online that collect and sell email addresses.
They use robots that travel from link to link in search of email addresses.
Their customers are led to believe that these email addresses belong to
individuals who want to receive mailings. However, much of the time, this
isn't the case.
Never purchase a list of email addresses from anyone other than a reputable
company. The only company I can recommend is Post Master Direct.
To protect your email address from these robots, instead of displaying your
address on your site, use a feedback form. Not just any type of form, but
a form that doesn't display your email address within the hidden form fields.
The only form I can recommend is Master Feedback. You can pick up a free
Anytime you're filling out a form online and you're asked to provide your
that your email address will not be sold or shared with a third party.
To protect your
in-box, you can use a Spam filtering software program. Although there are
several available online, the best one I've found is Mail Washer. This program
will enable you to view all the email on your server without actually downloading
it into your email program. Once you've reviewed your messages, you can create
filters and bounce the Spam messages back to the sender. Although you can
pick up the program free, consider supporting the developer and register
the software for a small fee.
If you're sending out a mailing to an opt-in list, there are a few steps
you can take to make sure your message won't trip the Spam filters:
1) Avoid using trigger words, such as Spam, fr*e, r*move, etc. Although the
list is far too broad to list here, you can learn more by reading the following
Spam Filters Run-Amuck by Timothy A. Gross
CLIP & SAVE guide to avoiding Spam filters by Debbie Weil
3) Avoid using "bad" words.
If you'd like to ensure your messages are getting through, consider opening
email accounts with the popular providers. You can send your mailings to
these accounts and monitor their reception. If your mailings land in the
dump, you can make some adjustments or even contact the company.
If you would like to test your outgoing email messages to ensure they won't
trigger a Spam filter, Ken Evoy offers a great service called SpamCheck.
This free service will enable you to send a copy of your publication, or
any email message, to a specific address and it will return a report of possible
words that will trigger the Spam filters.
Send your publication including the subject and body to:
The Spam problem
continues to get progressively worse. Although there isn't a simple solution
to the problem, the information provided in this article should assist you
in not only avoiding Spam, but also avoiding the filters for your legitimate
It's really a shame we're even in this position. However, we cannot allow
Spam to continue to infiltrate our businesses. We must take the necessary
steps to ensure our success.
Copyright © Shelley
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web Design
And, Ebook Starter - Give Your Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book.
Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to Etips
and receive a copy of the acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing
You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print,
in your ebook or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author
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