Re: Email Press Releases

From: Matt Magri <>
Date: Thu 2 Dec 1999 14:41:08 -0500

>I'm a small business and I want to send e-mail press
>releases to relevant (and select) sites, ad agencies
>and industry pundits so that I can promote my
>site, our new features and (as appropriate) encourage
>ad sales. So how do I do this so that it's not spam?
> What you need to do is learn how to advertise by
> forming associations with other sites

> This is one reason I, and apparently some others, are
> having trouble grasping the logic of some of these
> discussions about spam. [ ... ]

This is Real Life. There are a lot of times where there
is no ideal solution in Real Life. If there is a
Catch-22 in this situation, I would merely suggest that
you count yourself lucky if it's the first one that's
ever come up in your life.

> [ ... ] How do you form relationships with other
> sites without e-mailing them if there isn't another
> form of contact (or if they make e-mail the preferred
> form of contact)? [ ... ]

If they actually solicit business contacts via email
then it's not unsolicited, of course. It appears,
however, that merely not having a phone number or snail
address available on a website is all that's needed in
your opionion to show that a nonbusiness site "clearly"
wants business opportunities emailed to them:

> [ ... ] It depends on the site category (for
> example, business sites would likely be more apt to
> list a phone number and address), obviously, but I know
> that most sites I deal with (primarily gaming and
> sports) for contact information only reveal e-mail
> addresses. Clearly, they want business opportunities
> (relevant ones anyway), and they want them to go
> through e-mail.

If you feel you must use email (and you accept the risk
that the recipient may report you for sending UCE), I
would suggest that you go back to the recent post by
Tom Kirchman where he listed the six things which
should -all- be true before you send a b2b unsolicited
commercial email. Contact your access -and- webhosting
providers and ask them if they would have a problem
with you using those rules. If they do not (or if you
move to a provider that does not), nail a copy of the
post to the wall and faithfully follow -all- 6 parts.

> Personally, in the situation of whether it comes down
> to someone contacting me about some sort of business
> proposal, an ICQ message, AOL Instant Message, phone
> call, or direct mailing is far more annoying and time
> wasting to me than a simple e-mail if it's not
> applicable. Moreover, I don't get upset if someone's
> obviously talking directly to me when they e-mail me.

Whatever. Post a copy of that to your website so that
people can know your personal policy. I have no idea what
bearing it has on the larger discussion, though.

> I hate spam (bulk, unsolicited e-mail that has
> absolutely no value to me, is entirely inapplicable,
> and/or is sent multiple times) as much as the next
> person, [ ... ]

You do realize that, aside from the "sent multiple
times" one, all of the above criteria are subjective,
right? I'm afraid there's no way to base a meaningful
definition of spam on those. There isn't even an
accepted cutoff point for "bulk". Many providers which
set outbound limits in their mailservers will make it
ten. Do -you- consider eleven recipients to be bulk?
They do. There's no one right answer, which is why you
can't really base anything on it as an objective

> but if you're going to classify every single e-mail
> (including person-to-person and business-to-business)
> that someone hasn't asked to receive as spam, you might
> as well just condemn all e-mail use (99% anyway), as it
> is not possible to get permission for each and every
> mailing you send out. [ ... ]

I don't understand your point. Even if you convinced
Wayne that you were right, what possible difference
would that make? It isn't up to Wayne (or to you or to
me or to Tom or to anyone) how unsolicited commercial
email will be received. It is up to each individual
recipient. When you send a UCE you are taking a risk. I
wish that weren't the case for responsible users, but
the well has been sufficiently poisoned by
irresponsible users that there is very little leeway
available. You must have a clear criteria for
send/notsend (like Tom Kirchman's), you should post
them somewhere on your site (much as many sites post a
privacy policy when collecting info), and you are
making a -huge- mistake if you don't clear it with your
access *and* web hosting providers ahead of time. If
they are on your side -and- you actually follow all 6
parts of Tom's list, you will have reduced your actual
risk, and the damage to the, to almost

Remember that it is not up to you to decide how the
email will be received, however. Do not get into
arguments with people who take offense at a message.
They have as much right to decide about how their
mailbox is used as you do about how yours is used. If
you're are really sticking to a policy that has been
cleared with your providers, though, the occasional
complaint shouldn't be a problem. Understand, however,
that your providers have no way of knowing if you
actually are sticking to -all- 6 parts. Expect them to
get very wary if you do get complaints and be prepared
to reassure them. Again, I wish responsible users
didn't have to use such exaggerated caution, but my
wishes have about as much bearing on the matter as your
personal definition of spam. Things are as they are.

> I'd think most rational people should be willing to
> follow the 6 rules that were previously presented.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? And yet, almost no one
uses all 6 rules, at least based on the b2b email I
receive here.

> If it's a one time mailing directly to one individual
> person with a business proposal that both
> sites/entities can benefit from, I see no problem with
> it. To take the other side of the coin on this issue, I
> do agree with Wayne that it is inappropriate to e-mail
> select sites to promote your site. I get those "our
> site just launched... check it out" messages all the
> time, and if it doesn't have anything to offer to me or
> my business, I consider it to be no better than spam.

That's nice. It's not up to you to decide how other
folks will receive it, though, so I don't think it has
much practical bearing on the discussion. As was
pointed out elswehere, for example, there are a number
of businesses (press, etc.) which accept new site
announcements as a matter of course.

Matt Magri
Netmeg Internet

Received on Thu Dec 02 1999 - 13:41:08 CST


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