There are few things that rile me up more than some IDIOT (and that is the kindest word I can think of right now!) sending unsolicited bulk email out to myself and several hundred others with all our preciously guarded email addresses in the “To:” field so dozens of other IDIOTS who received that spam mail can all copy and paste my email address and send me more unsolicited bulk email!
If you are a business person and you use this tactic, beware! You can be found guilty of an offense and liable for conviction of an unspecified amount or up to 12 months imprisonment! Just recently a South African company was fined R65,000 for continuing to send spam after being cautioned to stop, so although spamming isn’t strictly speaking illegal in SA, you can see the courts do have some teeth to enforce serious fines if you send spam.
Here is some relevant information and links for more info:
What is spam?
Spam is any email, SMS or Instant Message sent to a number of recipients without their consent (in other words they haven’t opted in to receive your mail electronically). These mails usually advertise a product or service. If you cannot prove that someone has joined your mailing list and opted in to receive marketing material from yourself, don’t send it! It is estimated that email spam forms about 60% of all email traffic! That is a staggering percentage … what a waste of bandwidth!
Why is spam damaging?
Sending spam will negatively impact your business and brand. The recipients of your spam simply get irritated by you and will be LESS likely to actually take advantage of your product or service. Worst case scenario, you will be reported and prosecuted.
What laws address this topic?
In South Africa there are two laws that specifically address spam – The Consumer Protection Act and The Electronic Communications Act. There are even lawyers who specialize in cyber crime now as this area of the law is a growing area.
What to do when you receive spam?
If you receive unsolicited mail and do not wish to receive any more from the sender, look for an “Unsubscribe” link and use it. Failing that reply to the email clearly stating you wish the sender to stop sending you spam. Should they continue, report them!
Where can you report spam?
The Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA – http://ispa.org.za/ ) regulates email spam and they have a complaint form online here … Their website is a great source of further information, should you wish to educate yourself with respect to this topic in a more detailed way.
If you are receiving SMS spam and wish to identify the sender to take further action, you can visit this page to identify the sender of your SMS spam …
Don’t join the Hall of Shame!
To view ISPA’s Hall of Shame of senders of email spam, click here … and do try to avoid finding yourself on that list!
How can you send email marketing ethically?
Having heard the “what not to do’s”, how can you send your marketing materials ethically and effectively? If you aren’t savy with regard to all things social media, for goodness sake, get help! Get a company to set up your database and mailing list for you ethically in a program that can track things like opt-ins, and unsubscribes. This is probably one of the most cost effective and also most effective marketing tools out there, so do do this right!
There are many companies out there who can point you in the right direction, ask your current IT service providers or contact us here should you require an assessment and quote of your company’s situation.