Although we are now accustomed to using email as part of our everyday life, there was a time when it was the new kid on the block in the field of communications. Most of us weren’t sure what to make of it. At its inception, to imagine how widely used email would become would have been hard enough, but I don’t think anyone imagined how widely abused it would become.

Back then, the idea that you could send a text message, and at a later date images, to anyone in the World instantly and absolutely free was unheard of. Not only that, you could embed a hyperlink that could teleport the recipient to any page on the web. In the minds of marketers, the journey from a users home desktop to a business’ virtual doorstep was just a single mouse-click away, it’s no wonder this technology was quickly adopted and integrated into the marketing mix.

Legitimate marketers could use the cost-effective medium to reach thousands of potential customers in a single instant hit (think direct mail, but with zero printing and zero delivery costs). In the early days, any email that appeared in your inbox was important, there was no accident behind it, it was a deliberate personal message addressed to ‘YOU’. But it wasn’t long before a few unscrupulous ‘marketers’ started to abuse the medium and SPAM was born.

A recent report published last month by MessageLab, a world leading anti-spam service provider, highlights just how bad things have become for email as a communications device.

  • Spam accounts for over 92% of all email.
  • 95% of spam was sent from botnets at the end of July 2010.
  • More than 107 billion emails are being sent through botnets every day.
  • 41% of spam was from a Rustock botnet
  • The number of rustock infected machines is falling, but the amount of mail each one is sending is increasing.
  • One in 327 emails contains malware and one in 363 emails is a phish.

Source: MessageLabs Ltd

Thankfully, of the billions of spam messages being sent everyday, the majority are intercepted by a sophisticated set of filters before reaching your inbox, but as marketers working with legitimate clients, we have to make sure that none of their communications to customers ends up getting filtered into the spam folder.

Q. What takes hours of research, writing and crafting but takes just 0.03 of a second to be obliterated from existence.

A. Possibly your last email campaign.

Most filters today identify spam as emails that are being sent to a large number of recipients on-mass, just the kind of email a legitimate company may be sending out to its database. Everyday, spammers adapt their spamming technology to evade detection, and everyday the filters respond by employing stricter criteria, thus making it harder for legitimate business to do bulk mailouts. This is why Jack in the box employs a top-class email service to drive our Mailbox system . The strict guidelines set forth in the ‘Terms of Use’ agreement ensures that our clients have a valid claim to communicate with their database. Any occurrences where an email is marked as spam by the recipient, are reported back to the system. We also make it mandatory for all email campaigns to include a working unsubscribe link. Measures like these and others have been put in place to protect the email using public and also ensures that emails sent through our system remain pre-approved to pass through the strictest of email filters.

If you are currently sending bulk emails to your database through your everyday email system, such as Outlook, I strongly recommend that you look into the benefits of a pre-approved email system such as Mailbox , that also includes a comprehensive suite of reporting and database management tools. Without such a system, a large proportion of your emails could be marked as spam and ending up in you customer’s spam folder.