Don’t Slam the Spam

In the past week or so there have been a host of reports and studies on spam.

DoubleClick’s Email Trend Report says that bounce-back rates have risen with business products and services e-mails having the highest bounce-back rate of 19%. Oh my! Out, you unclean list, OUT!

The report also says that Tuesday is the day most marketing emails are sent, with nearly 24% of all email sent that day. And I thought all those Nigerian oil heirs only worked on weekends!

Harris Interactive for Digital Impact reports that 59% of the US online population understands the difference between legitimate e-mail marketing and spam. What? Only 59%? Who are those other 41%, people who think you “turn on” your computer by whispering “I’m the best, baby?”

Buried in the Harris survey was this tidbit: 71% of respondents have made purchases as a result of email marketing they received.

What? Here is a medium that everyone purports to hate, yet 3 out of every 4 people who get marketing email have made a purchase directly related to the message? No wonder the spam keeps coming.



I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of all the whining and griping about spam. Three quarters of the snail mail I get is direct marketing and I am not blowing up my mailbox or filing suit against the postman. Moreover, I confess that I open almost all of this “junk” mail and sure enough once in a while actually find something to buy. Shouldn’t everyone have a cast iron garden frog in which to hide his house key?

If I’m in a mood to wear my left-of-center-eco-centric-save-the-whales-California-at-one-with-nature hat, I can ponder the number of trees that are felled to keep my post box brimming with unsolicited catalogues (except that Victoria’s Secret quarterly I keep for purely academic reasons), subscription invitations, financial support solicitations and so on. By contrast, my online spam harms not a fir, oak or pine tree.

Yes, spam jams up servers and is annoying to delete, but at least you don’t have to haul it in the house and toss it in the trash. And let’s face it -- one man’s spam is another man’s serendipity.

Let’s be clear. I am not a fan of all that low cost loan/Viagra/see-my-sister-naked/make money at home crap. But I am a huge fan of well-targeted, professionally executed electronic direct mail most of which I open and, like that 71% of the rest of the population, occasionally buy something.

Buy spam filters, redirect the stuff into a folder you’ll never open or just keep hitting the delete key until you get a hand cramp, just stop crying about something that is probably here to stay, helps some publishers pay the bills and just might be worth reading.

John Durham is COO of Interep Interactive.

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