For the purposes of marketing let me post a definition from Miriam-Webster:

: unsolicited usually commercial messages (such as emails, text messages, or Internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients or posted in a large number of places So, we can see that “unsolicited commercial messages” are spam.

What does “unsolicited” mean? That depends on where it is. For instance, in your email you need to ask yourself if you filled in a form with your email address to get something for free. Did you purchase a product from the email sender? If you bought a product, often you are automatically added to an email list for the vendor. Often it is to send you details on how to obtain that product or, it could be login details for a membership that you purchased. Either way, that is legitimate and not spam.

If, however, you did not sign up for or purchase from, then it is spam. Let me explain with a recent personal experience I had with my inbox. If I get an email from someone I do not know who they are, I will open and unsubscribe before reporting it as spam. If they continue to email me then I report it as spam. If there isn’t an unsubscribe link in the email giving me the option of getting off of that email list, then they are in violation of the CAN-SPAM act and I report it as spam. The other day I received an email from someone I had never heard of before. I opened the email and clicked the link to unsubscribe. On the page I was taken to, I saw it came from someone in a program from an internet marketer I had heard bad reports about so I never did business with them. I do not know how the sender of the email got my email address but it was not from me so I immediately reported it as spam.

Now those that read my blog posts on a regular basis know that I am pretty straight-forward and just call it like I see it. I try to use common sense when I make decisions for myself. How else can people get your email address if you do not sign up or purchase from them? Believe it or not, some people will sell their email lists. Worse than that, there are others that are so eager to take shortcuts to make money that they will buy those lists. I would advise you now to never purchase an email list. Why? because if you send that list a promotional email, then you are spamming them. They did not sign up to your list. They signed up to a list for someone else. Therefore, they never gave you permission to email them. Now, if you have already purchased a list, and I have to tell you now that I am not a lawyer so I do not know for a fact, there could be a way to salvage some of it and email them with integrity. Do not send a promotion. Send an email explaining who you are and how you got their email. Ask them if they would like to receive email from you. Then provide a link to your own opt-in form. Any that fill in the form are now your leads and you can email them.

I would also advise against selling your list to anyone simply because it is a violation of trust.

What else is considered spam other than email?

Are you on Facebook? Stupid question I know, everyone is on Facebook. What about Facebook groups? I have seen an increase of people posting their offers in other groups than their own. Now don’t get me wrong, just because it isn’t your group doesn’t mean you can’t post your offer. There are groups that are set up specifically for that purpose. If it is a private group however, and you have not been told by the person that set up that group to post your link in it, then it is spam.

Now some Groups will allow you to post links from time to time but, wait until they say to do so, and follow the rules for it that they post. Many will state absolutely “no affiliate links”. This simply means that it has to be your own offer and not something you are promoting for someone else. I myself post from time to time in my Facebook group to allow links and I allow affiliate promotions too. Just remember that affiliate links are often blocked by Facebook so you will need a bridge page to send them to. You are free to apply to join my group if you would like by clicking on the following link. Effective Online Profits. I just ask that you answer the questions I have asked because I will automatically deny the request if the questions have not been answered.

There is another form of spam on Facebook as well, messenger. Just because your friend request was accepted, does not mean I have given you permission to message me your offers and services. Let me explain, this morning when I fired up my computer I had a message from someone. apparently I had recently accepted the friend request but, I had no idea who this person was. There had never been any interaction on any of my posts so as far as I can tell the message this morning was the first interaction since accepting the friend request. Was there a greeting? No there was not. It was nothing more than a spam message to an offer. I do not know who teaches people to do this but it is spam and I do not take kindly to it. I unfriend and block people that use this tactic.

Let me just say to use common sense when sending promotional material. Have you discussed with the recipient and feel that they would want to receive this information? Have they consented to receive your emails? If not don’t do it. Just yesterday in a personal email account I received a spam email from a car dealership. Don’t send spam as nobody appreciates it.

As always, if you found this post helpful or know someone that could benefit from reading it, feel free to share it on social media.

Comments are welcome so feel free to do so.

    2 replies to "What is Spam?"

    • Kneller Fernandes

      Good article David,
      Purchasing or selling an email list is totally a cardinal sin. Also, some great pointers about Facebook. 🙂

      • David

        Thank you for your comment. I have seen so many that don’t understand as more and more people come in to internet marketing and have absolutely no training and don’t know how it all applies to them.

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