You may not have heard of drip email marketing, or email drip marketing, but I can assure you that you know what it is. You have either sent it, or received it, or in some other way come into contact with it. Wikipedia - not always the most reliable source, but in this case accurate - describes drip email this way: "Email drip marketing is a form of e-mail marketing where a company sends ("drips") email messages to subscribers on a scheduled basis established using e-mail marketing software."
We've talked in the past about why address book importing is just not ok. But in addition to the fact that it trains people to enter their passwords at third-party sites, and to the fact that when you send out all those invitations it makes you look like a spammer, there's another big reason to not do address book importing.
You may or may not have heard the furor over Spamza - the website where anybody can enter any email address, and have that email address instantly signed up for hundreds of newsletter mailing lists. Of course, everybody is very upset because this site facilitates people getting spammed. BUT, there is also a very important lesson here for email marketers, newsletter publishers, and just about any other email sender who maintains a mailing list.
We see fewer and fewer sites with Tell-a-Friend ("TAF") forms and links these days - and we see fewer Tell a Friend links in email, as well - and there's a reason for it. Generally Tell-a-Friend links don't really generate much quality traffic, while they can bring deliverability trouble. In fact, there are a couple of different ways that exhorting your readers to "tell a friend" can cause you problems. (Tell-a-friend refers to asking your readers to, well, "tell a friend" about your article, page, etc., and providing them with a mechanism to easily tell a friend.)
Address book importing. Odds are good that if you aren't doing it, you are either thinking about doing it, or you know someone who is doing it or thinking about doing it. Because, you see, it's all the rage. It's also an awful practice.
Here's one of those things which can be subtle, and yet so critical. It can bite you in the back without your realizing it, and then six months later you wonder why you have gangrene in your knees - it's that difficult, to connect the dots. Until someone tells you about it and then you have that forehead-slapping moment - of course!
We often get the question "where can we buy or rent legitimate opt-in mailing lists?" Well, the short answer is: you can't. That is because, and this is very important, you can't transfer permission.
It is never ok to repurpose someone's email address - especially by putting it on a mailing list - without their express permission. Even if it were ok (which it isn't), it will cause the recipient to mark your email as spam, and that in itself, when it happens enough, will cause your email to get blocked.
We were stunned when we came across an article by Internet Evolution, suggesting email marketers use Paypal's batch payment function to send mass emails to non-opted-in recipients, with a payment incentive to open the email. The article even states directly, "The sender can simply upload a list of targeted but unknown email addresses and give each a 1 cent payment."
The first true marketing email did not arrive until 1978, when a company called DEC (which became part of Compaq, now HP) sent an invitation to the product launch of a new machine to all addresses in the ARPANET directory on the USA’s West Coast. They were heavily criticized for the act, which broke the ARPANET appropriate use policy, and everyone else was reminded of the rule.
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