Email Issues

There are two wrong ways to do an email announcement online.  The first is only a little bit wrong:
My name is L. Neil Smith. I'm about to make an important announcement for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. If you would send me any e-mail address(es) of folks you think might be interested, it would be easier, and I would appreciate it.

You'll find material to establish my bona fides on, or at _The Libertarian Enterprise_ at or "The Webley Page" at
I've read a few of his books and I would not mind at all receiving his announcement, but I draw the line at sending in other people's email addresses for him to "announce" to.  Email ettiquette demands that you not sign up other people for announcements, mailing lists, or the like.  This is a consequence of the huge amount of spam being sent to every conceivable email address.  So, if you want to receive his announcement, sign up for yourself.  (I note that David had a similar reaction).

And then there was the much less pleasant interaction I had with the Opposing Views folks.  I won't link.  It started with a simple email:
My name is Edgar Acosta and I am an editor at Opposing Views.  I came across your site, liked what I read, and wanted to introduce us because we both write about gun issues.
So far so good, I made a mental note to check out the site sometime when I have time.  (That's rare, these days.)  A couple days later, I received another message:
This is Edgar from Opposing Views, the debate website.  I sent you an email a few days ago and had not heard back from you, so I thought I would touch base again.
Well, OK, two emails is not so bad and I had in fact not yet had a chance to check it out, so I held off saying anything.  But then...
I understand that you probably get lots of inquiries, so I'm guessing you haven't had the time to respond to my email.

I will go ahead and put you on our list for the Opposing Views newsletter so you can keep an eye on the topics we are covering and come by the site when you have time.  If you aren't interested, there is an opt-out on every email.
... and it's that easy to cross the line from friendly contact to spam.  By adding my name to their mailing list without my consent, Opposing Views became a spammer.  To their credit, they promptly replied and claimed to have removed my address from their newsletter.  To their detriment, they argued with me about whether adding me in the first place was spamming or not.  I haven't yet received any newsletters from them, so I assume they have removed my address, but I won't know for sure for a while.

If you are going to play with email marketing on the internet, you need to play by the rules.  Opt-out is never an acceptable model.  Even conduct allowed by the so-called CAN-SPAM act can still land you in a lot of hot water with your ISP.

This entry was published Thu Sep 18 17:17:35 CDT 2008 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2008-09-18 17:17:35.0. [Tweet]

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