Online Marketing or Spamming?

Over the past few weeks I have been receiving an awful lot of emails from companies advertising various products or services. Now initially I looked and seen these as genuine business trying to sell their services but as more and more emails flooded in it made me think – is there really much difference between these emails and the ‘spamming’ pharmacutical emails that go straight in to the junk folder?


When you think about it, spam is “near identical emails send to numerous recipients”. Now I am sure that these emails I am receiving were not specifically written for my small website.

Earlier this week I was so frustrated with receiving emails from these businesses that I actually replied to one, with lets say, a less than friendly response. To my surprise I actually got a response! And so began our email argument:

Mr. Spammer: “Not a very professional response – sorry to have interrupted you.”

Me: “Spamming isn’t exactly professional either.”

Mr. Spammer: “It is called marketing, many companies do it.”

Me: “No, it’s spamming. You must be in serious trouble if you’ve resorted to this. These sort of generic emails will give you and your business a very bad reputation.

I bet you’d love getting tons of these types of emails a day…”

Mr. Spammer: “I really do not have time to argue the different between spamming (which is US based business-consumer) and e-mail marketing, you obviously do have a lot of time to split hairs. We do get a lot of mail from Indonesian data houses and US based companies selling Viagra etc.– but never contact them to discuss marketing strategy.

Once again, apologies if the contact caused you any offence or upset, I contacted you from your listing on google, but have made a note not to e-mail you again.

Have a nice day,

Warm Regards,

Me: “I think I might adopt that approach and email sites on google. Sounds like fun.

Oh, while we’re here; are you interested in any graphic design services? I can provide a number of services at exceptionally competitive rates and no money changes hands until the job is done. Branding, print or web design, I do it all!!! Feel free to contact me regarding these services.”

Mr. Spammer: “Well, lots of companies out there and google is a great way to find local businesses to sell your services to.

Notice you are on twitter keeping people updated on your various arguments – all good stuff.”

Me: “Wow, I didn’t know your company dabbled espionage as well. What a diverse organisation you lot are. Do you wear a trench coat and sunglasses at work?”

Mr. Spammer: “And a hat over the brim ;)”

To that I responded with one of his Twitter responses from earlier in the week and strangely he didn’t respond. I guess he didn’t like the idea of people doing exactly what he was.

I find it amazing that companies who wish to maintain any sort of dignity adopt such a pathetic marketing approach. If this company looked at my website for even a single minute they would have noticed that I was a student and not the ‘business’ they were targeting. I was not even ‘local’ to them, despite the email suggesting that they are targeting local people.

I don’t know if it is just me but I personally would never deal with a company who contacts me with such a generic email. To me this is spamming, emailing any person with their ‘advertising’ regardless of whether or not the service the company are selling even applies to them. I am equally as annoyed by companies who do the same thing over social networking sites such as Twitter, but that’s another day’s subject!

I would love to hear others thoughts on this subject of ‘online marketing’. Where do you stand?

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~ by kelvinwins on April 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “Online Marketing or Spamming?”

  1. The sad truth is that this type of spamming does yield results eventually if enough people are spammed, regardless of if the email and the sender are genuine or not. I don’t approve of such mailings, though and I’ve had them myself.

    However, I’d say that while your spammer used less than acceptable methods to get in touch with you, his replies were courteous and yours were less so because regardless of who is in the right or wrong, all contact with your audience should always be of a professional nature.

    Overall though, I’d strongly agree that generically emailing people and/or leaving generic comments about marketing is nothing less than spam and as such, I consider it completely wrong and unprofessional.

  2. LOL That’s hilarious. I’m highly surprised that you got an email back at all.

  3. People spam because they know that if they send out enough of them someone will bite. I really appreciated your conversation with spammer I have often thought about spamming the spammer just for fun. You can use email blast effectively when marketing and I know I get a bunch of emails from companies that I frequent which actually give me coupons and such but this was my choice to sign up for the blast. What sucks is these spammers share our email addresses with each other and it really doesn’t help to go to there unsubmit link. Thanks for sharing this it was thoroughly entertaining.

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