Your Hijacked E-mail Address
Recently, I received an e-mail that was addressed to me … and 750 other people! Have you ever received an e-mail with a header that looked like the one below?
Ever wonder how you end up on someone’s e-mail blast list? The sender could be closer to you than you realize … a friend of a friend, an acquaintance of an acquaintance, or even someone you’ve met. Here are two primary tactics, how it works, and how to prevent it from happening to you:
1. Copy & Paste
One – or more – of the 750 recipients of an e-mail blast like the one above, sees this as a golden opportunity to grab 750 new e-mail addresses for their own listserv (e-mail distribution list). Copy, paste, done. It’s just that simple. They’ll grab 25 names here … 60 there … and another 750 from somewhere else. Pretty soon, this “blaster” has compiled a list of thousands of perfect … strangers. These folks see it as a numbers game – They believe, “The more people I add to my list, the better the odds that I’ll convert more of them into clients/customers/readers/fans.” Unfortunately, they prioritize quantity over quality. This is SPAM, pure and simple, yet many people see nothing wrong with the behavior. “Besides, if they don’t want to be on my list, they can always just unsubscribe,” I’ve even heard them say.
2. Assumed Permission
Whenever someone asks for your business card (especially at networking events) they may be intending to add you to their listserv. I recommend nipping this in the bud by politely asking them not to, assuming that is your wish. Surprisingly, this is another example of a marketing behavior that many people see no problem with. The fundamental problem is: they do not have your permission – you’ve barely met and they didn’t ask you if you wantedto be included on their listserv. (Perhaps they’re afraid of what the answer might be if they did?) They probably would never think of themselves as spammers, but they are sending you spam (unwanted e-mail).
My guess is that less than 1% of these hijacked recipients actually appreciate being added to lists like this. The other 99% feel interrupted, annoyed or downright irritated. What’s been your experience?
How not to be “That Guy”
If you’re the sender and there’s something legitimate and valuable you’d like to send to several recipients (people you actually know) all at once and you don’t have the time to send it to each person individually…
Here’s the trouble with sending it as a traditional e-mail … and the solution:
1. Some folks are sensitive to who sees their email address.
2. Psychologically, when someone sees that they’re one of (let’s say) 80, they are less likely to take action (i.e., “There’s 79 other people here. He’s got enough support already.”) Of course, if everyone felt that way…
3. Your e-mail message will end up in some peoples’ spam folder (25+ recipients is a major “red flag” to most e-mail clients).
4. Some people will inadvertently hit “reply all” for their personal reply back to you, and that annoys people.
5. When original recipients forward the e-mail, it shows all of the original 80 to those new recipients … and so on.
6. Some people will see this as an opportunity to grab 80 new names/e-mails to begin marketing to.
7. Finally, an e-mail looking like this — with 80 recipients listed in the header — has a very “cold” feel when perhaps it was intended to feel warm and personalized.
The Solution: put yourself in the “To:” line and “BCC” it to everyone else, but no more than 25 people at a time OR better yet, use a professional service such as: AWeber, Constant Contact or MailChimp. (affiliate links)