This morning, a friend sent an email to his entire address book saying that he'd changed his email address. His reasoning:
Since I have approached some 400 daily spam messages, I've changed my email address. I don't like changing my email address. But I'm swamped and afraid that I'm missing emails from good folk.
Clearly, email doesn't always work like it should. Spam and their bots crawl sites and look under nooks and crannies in order to send all of us messages with subjects like Re: Vi@gra@ or other such cleverly clandestine headings, all in the hopes that someone out there will click on it and make an offer for some deeply discouneted meds.
I mean, someone somewhere has to be buying this stuff up, right? After all, if spam never ever worked then it would fall out of existence like the BetaMax player In other words, there's still value in spam, more so than ticking us off.
Of course, spam rarely does succeed, so if you want to interrupt people with your message, you can just add their email address (which they may have given you legitimately) to any list that strikes your fancy.
Right after I got my friend's email this morning, I got another one, this one looking like a newsletter which I know I never willingly signed up for. It came from a guy I met once. We exchanged business cards. Apparently, this mere exchange led him to believe he could sign me up for his monthly blast about cell phones (which he sells).
I'm not in the market for a cell phone right now. But I do know that when I am, I will not contact this guy.
If you think you have something of value, you don't sign people for it automatically. You tell them about it, and then ask them to pull the trigger on signing up. After all, if it's really that great and really meets an important need, people will sign up for it anyway.
This is why I'll never sign up anyone for CoolPeopleCare's daily email. In fact, when you meet us out in the community, we'll ask for your email address, but not to put you on a regular list. We ask for your email address, promising to send you just one email in the next 72 hours. That email will thank you for taking the time to come to our booth/tent/table and then remind you what it is we do. It's then up to you if you want to get more emails from us.
I wonder if my friend was getting 400 of the sex and drugs emails or the cell phone guys emails. Both are equally terrible, but the latter makes you waste more time because you have to open it since you recognize the name. Then, once you see that someone's out to fill your inbox with worthless information about land lines and teleophony, you just get upset and write a blog post about it.
The bottom line is this: if you have something that people want, they'll sign up on their own. Don't trick them into thinking what you have is valuable. Prove it.