THE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER ABOUT ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTERS
May 3, 2007
By Dan Harley, Jr. – email@example.com
Hello to another week of stimulating information about e-mail marketing. My mailing list grows once again. Those of you reading my newsletter for the first time, I would like to direct your attention to the next article about why you’re receiving this newsletter and why I’m publishing it. I also continue to receive a steady flow of questions, which I’ll answer in the Q&A segment of this newsletter.
Many of you are already starting to develop your own e-mail marketing programs, and I’m humbled that my advice has inspired many of you to do so. However, some of you have made a few errors that could get you into a little trouble. How I learned what to do and what not to do is by making mistakes and learning from them. I’m hoping to help you avoid the same problems by teaching you what I already learned, so you won’t make the same mistakes. I’m also learning from you too.
This week’s article will cover what spammers do, so you can learn how to avoid spamming as well as learning how keep from getting spammed. My readers inspire the information I’m providing today, so please continue sending your questions and responses. If you don’t have a question, please consider sending me an “Atta Boy” response to let me know that my information is appreciated.
For those of you reading this for the first time, you can get filled in on what you missed by going to my blog. It has all of my previous articles, and can be found on my blog at:
Let’s get started!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
By Dan Harley, Jr. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: My e-mail (account) won’t let me send to more than ___ number of recipients. How do I get around that?
A: Most of the popular e-mail services (AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) limit the number of recipients for a single e-mail. The limit can be as little as 10 or as high as 50 depending on the service. You should really use a mailing list service or server, which I will cover in a future article. A simple fix for now is to send your e-newsletter to a block of recipients at a time. i.e. if your limit is 10, then break down your mailing list to blocks of 10 each and send to each of the blocks separately.
I also want to emphasize that what I’ve covered so far is focused on sending individual e-mails and not bulk e-mailing yet. The more personal, you make your e-mails, the more likely it will be read and the less likely your e-mail will end up in the heap of spam mail. I strongly suggest you consider that before continuing with your e-newsletter.
Q: My e-newsletter didn’t come out right when I sent it. What did I do wrong?
A: A few of you had made the same mistake, and the fix is simple. Make your newsletter text only instead of trying to include pictures or background images in it. The less technology you use in your newsletter, the less likely your newsletter will crash on your recipient’s computer. Also, most of the popular e-mail services will flag your e-mail as spam or infected with a virus if there are unnecessary attachments. If the image is important for your readers to see, then upload the image to your Web site and use a link to get to it. This will prevent your e-newsletter from crashing and drive traffic to your Web site.
Q: I received delivery errors when I sent my e-newsletters out. What did I do wrong?
A: It’s the nature of the beast when you bulk e-mail. The bigger your mailing list, the more delivery errors you will receive. Most of the time, the errors will be an incorrect e-mail address. Sometimes a major e-mail service will limit the number of e-mail you can send to their service during a certain time period. AOL is notorious for this, and it’s likely the brunt of such errors is from AOL.
Q: How’s your Dad doing this week?
A: My Dad is currently in Loma Linda VA under Respid Care. This was a planned stay to have him evaluated by several doctors while there, and to provide a little break from taking care of him at home. The break didn’t really happen, because I’ve constantly been on the phone coordinating his appointments. However, my Dad is doing okay.
Keep sending those questions, and I’ll keep answering them!
HOW SPAMMERS SPAM
By Dan Harley, Jr.
I’m hoping this article will give you enough information to better understand spammers, so you can keep your e-mails out of the spam folder and to keep spammers from spamming you. Believe it or not, it is very difficult to be a spammer. It is a lot of hard work, and is not worth the effort.
Although it seems like there are millions of spammers out there, most spam comes from just a handful of spammers. The most popular spammer is what I call the “Pharmacy Guy.” Depending on whom you ask, Pharmacy Guy is responsible for 10% to 50% of today’s spam. Pharmacy Guy is linked to thousands of credit card fraud cases around the world. Pharmacy Guy is being hunted down by just about every law enforcement agency in the world, and the closest the law has gotten to him is they think he is either in Canada or Russia. Pharmacy Guy has been doing this for years, and he is very good at it.
Pharmacy Guy’s operation is immoral, unethical, illegal but also very ingenious. He sets up his online business Web sites with hosting services by using credit card information that he had previously stolen. The Web site’s objective is to collect credit card information by impersonating a legitimate online business. His most popular Web site is the online pharmacy, but he also has tobacco shops, bookstores, opportunity seminars and dozens of other imaginary businesses. The sites remain dormant until Pharmacy Guy is ready to use it.
When the time comes, Pharmacy Guy will send an e-mail blast to tens of millions of e-mail addresses to visit the imaginary online business. The sheer number of e-mails will find someone naïve enough to leave their credit card information on the Web site. Pharmacy Guy’s e-mail campaign ends within a couple hours due to getting flagged for spam, but the damage has already been done. Credit card information is downloaded immediately, the site is abandoned and Pharmacy Guy’s tracks are already well hidden in the complex maze of the Internet. The scary thing is Pharmacy Guy could have several of these Web sites operating at any one time.
How Pharmacy Guy acquires his e-mail addresses is through several means of e-mail farming, with the most effective means is chain e-mails. Pharmacy Guy sends out chain e-mails; which could be jokes, political statements, online polls, virus alerts, etc., that will eventually come back to him full of e-mail addresses from being forwarded around the Internet. Most all of the e-mail addresses farmed from the chain e-mail are live e-mail accounts, which are more valuable than randomly generated e-mail addresses. It doesn’t take too long to build an enormous database of e-mail addresses by doing this.
Other major spamming operations use more or less the same tactics, and they use it because it works. It is a very complex system that requires an extreme level of knowledge and expertise as well as commitment to break laws without getting caught. All this in mind, it is very tough to be a professional spammer. On the other hand, it is very easy to end up on a spam list because of what the professional spammers do.
To avoid being tagged as a spammer is as simple as sticking to good morals and managing your mailing list carefully. A well-managed mailing list used for good intentions will receive a thousand times better response rate than a professional spammer’s mailing lists. The mailing list that is used for this e-newsletter conservatively receives a 20% response rate, and I’ve had only one unsubscribe request since starting this publication. A professional spammer’s mailing list is considered good with just a couple dozen responses out of millions of recipients.
I hope this article clearly defines what a professional spammer really does, and gives you some ideas in how not to look like one of them. The next couple articles will focus on spammers and spamming, so that those of you who are jumping ahead can avoid problems of your own.
I’ll talk to you next week, and keep those e-mails coming!