by Jimmy Marks
Yes, I get Spam. Even as a person who is very vigilant about where his email address goes when he signs up for things, I still get emails for pills, cheap software and videos of celebrities I don’t like doing things I don’t want to see them doing.
Usually, it goes in my “Spam” or “Junk” folder. Sometimes, it gets through to the top level, into my inbox. And then, I have a choice to make.
Do I hit “Trash”? Or do I hit “Spam”?
It depends. Let’s take an email from a certain online vendor named after a famous South American river. I get these emails a lot, and I get a LOT of these emails. Special offers, coupons, daily deals – I open them, I see what’s inside, I close them. Sometimes, I even buy something from the email. But not very often.
So, when I get an email from this “Famous River” website that doesn’t have an item I want inside, is it Spam?
Why not? Because I have a relationship with the company. They will let me unsubscribe if I want, but I don’t want to. Sometimes, I DO buy something, so I keep the emails coming. But if there’s something in the email I don’t want or need, I just trash it. I’m done with the email and that’s the end of the action.
Now, let’s try a different email. This one’s from some prince who’s emailing me from some country I’ve never heard of before. He wants to transfer money from his account to mine and sell me some cheap prescriptions and blah blah blah… this email is clearly Spam. So should I mark it as Spam?
I didn’t want this email, I don’t need this email, there’s no unsubscribe – it’s Spam. And I’ll treat it as such.
What’s the difference? Well, when you mark an email as “Spam”, you’re (typically) telling your email client AND your email delivery service how to process new emails from that sender. If enough people mark an email as “Spam”, the sender’s IP can be flagged and they’ll stop being treated like a real email not only on your machine and in your account, but across the web. This is a double-edged sword. If a legitimate business is sending emails to prospects or users and too many recipients mark an email as “Spam”, that sender can be blacklisted – no matter how “legitimate” their emails are.
So, remember – unsubscribe from a campaign/email series if you don’t like it. And if you can’t use it but don’t want to unsubscribe, send it to the trash. If it’s an unsolicited email from an unknown sender, that’s the right time to hit “Spam”. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just apply to email – Twitter and Blogs deal with a lot of “Spammy” followers and comments. Marking these as Spam helps Twitter and your blog host to determine which tweeters/commenters are gumming up the works. We’re all in this together – let’s get Spam out of the way so the real stuff can get through!