• United States
Contributing Writer

Are messages from e-tailers spam?

Jun 05, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalware

* The fine line between spam trash and e-commerce opportunity

Over the past few weeks, I’ve focused on how spam could be putting e-mail as we know it out of business. But what about e-commerce vendors? Are they putting e-mail in jeopardy as a marketing tool by sending out so much spam?

Many folks take it for granted that they will now spend the first few minutes of their day hitting the “delete” button to rid their in-boxes of spam. They say this is the price they pay for e-mail. In that pile of deletes are many messages that marketers are trying to get through.

Is this the message that e-commerce vendors want to send? Anything in your in-box that is not from a “known” entity must be spam and therefore should be deleted.

One reader remarked that any company that sends what she deems spam is not a company she wants to deal with. She said that she spends a lot of time on the Internet researching what products she wants to buy and what companies sell those products. She does not, however, allow “spam” from companies to influence her decision.

Another reader said he finally got his grandmother up and running on e-mail and the ‘Net, only to spend his time helping her clear out her in-box from unwanted junk mail, especially pornography. He claimed this is ruining the online experience for those just heading onto the Web. It’s telling them that there is nothing online for them.

Translated: The Internet newbies and denizens that e-commerce vendors want to attract are becoming disillusioned by all the hurdles they have to jump over just to enjoy the Web.

It’s said that marketers have to receive at least a 1% response rate to make their efforts worthwhile. That means they have must send tens of thousands of e-mails to get just a few bites. Could that time and effort be better spent elsewhere? Could that money be spent creating new and more targeted methods for getting folks to see their virtual storefronts?

The question somebody posed to me is this: Even if we get rid of the so-called “illegal” mass marketers, won’t we still have an in-box full of misdirected marketing campaigns? Aren’t there enough e-commerce vendors falling for the lure of spam that they outsend even the most vigilant pornography solicitors?

What do you think? Have we lost our shot at making e-commerce an attractive sell via e-mail? Has everyone become desensitized to in-box marketing? Let me know at