Responsive SPAM: Is It A Friendly Tactic? (Spam Marketing In Disguise)
Unwanted digital junk, usually called “Spam” is likely to be the most annoying and repulsive experiences you can ever have at any time of the day. Do you think that spam is necessarily “clear”? Well, it used to be that way, long time back! Once a clear spam marketing has transposed itself into ‘masked spam’ which still spooks us unexpectedly at odd times. Read on to find out how…
The tale of spam is fascinating and bizarre enough at the same time to get you absorbed in it quite instantly. In a so-called story, spam marketing was born when a couple, bulk posted about immigration law services on Usenet newsgroups and other advertising channels or ‘superhighways’ as they call it! They escaped this blameworthy situation calling it their right to ‘free speech’.
Well, smart enough! No wonder they encouraged their spam marketing and how? By writing a book to teach spamming tactics. A bunch of other tales surrounding spam is all over the internet. A few of them looks concocted and others look reliable.
Spam was scorned to the extreme. It was clear as crystal. Anyone and everyone on earth would know that a link or email is spam after they came across it. It was frowned upon and despised. But, then came the world, where it became difficult for the clear spam to live and breathe. Its existence was “endangered”. Spammers were distressed on the advent of spam filters and checks.
Spam marketing evolved into something “covert” and “relevant” which can be easily termed as “smart spam”. People came to brace the links and other spam content which actually looked “worth” the liking, commenting, sharing and clicking!
According to Wikipedia:
“It was estimated in 2009 that spam cost businesses around US$130 billion”.
Sounds interesting? We’re going to dig deeper into all about spam marketing and talk about some more thought-provoking facts that matter to you & your business marketing strategies.
Spam in Comments: Is it hurting your business?
If you’re availing the benefits of content marketing on your website, you know how it feels to have “mixed reaction” comments in the comments’ section of your blog!
We know it, too.
Back in the early days, the spam marketing was bad spam because it was ‘real junk’ which was of no use, no matter what. Who likes to become the victim of ‘flooding’ and ‘trashing’? No one. Wait, we’re not jumping to the conclusion by saying that modern spam is ‘good’ spam. But, there’s nothing to lose with modern spam marketing.
The need to do something to stop the spam arose and anti-spam regulations were the need of the hour when the spamming activities were at its peak. Till 2009, the scenario was utterly awful. Unsolicited advertisements in forums, wikis, blogs, and guestbooks was a common sight. “Unsolicited” actually means someone trying to sell/ convince you of something that you simply didn’t ask for!
Spam in blogs, which is also called comment spam, blog spam or social spam, has seen a major metamorphosis since a decade back. There were no efficient filters to keep a check on the spam comments and the blog owner had to get rid of the spam comments by deleting them manually.
But what would an authoritative website owner do when a blog post on his site would receive hundreds and thousands of spam comments. Delete all the spam comments manually?
The comments were often random to gain attention (rather nasty) or filled up with hyperlinks of the spammer’s website. Blogging software like WordPress and other open blogging platforms would allow anyone to comment with hyperlinks. This would help the spammer to artificially increase the popularity of the site and its search engine ranking due to the PageRank algorithm as used by Google.
Everyone who is out there in marketing world knows well that how important is it to rank high in search engine results. Due to this comment spam marketing, the spammer’s site would be shown above all the other websites with similar results.
What’s the current scenario of Comment Spam?
Well, fortunately, the blogging platforms today have come up with built-in filters to keep the spam under check. But, spammers have come up with ways to outrun the filter checks. Disqus, Jetpack, and Akismet serve the purpose today! The truth is, a little or a lot – comment spam still rules the blogging platforms.
The thing is, it now comes in different shapes and sizes- Veiled and Sugarcoated! Is it good to keep those spam comments on your blog? Does that hurt your business? The answer is no.
To leverage benefits from the comment spam, it becomes important to identify the comment as good spam or bad spam. We are over with ‘flooding’ spam. There are hardly any traces of this type of spam left today due to powerful filters and checks being adopted by the authoritative blogging platforms. Now what remains is the ‘concealed’ version of spam.
As said earlier, a comment is crafted in such a way that it doesn’t look promotional at all. Forget about any chances of it being called a spam marketing comment. Such precision and art of writing comments have given a face of goodness to ‘bad’ and ugly spam that was a bad sight in the past.
Why is Comment Moderation Indispensable?
We’re going to talk about the most popular blogging platform- WordPress. Behind the scenes, WordPress turns to Trackbacks and Pingbacks when you sit to filter your comments. Automated spamming systems have added to the problem thus calling for the need to identify the spam comments from the legit ones. It’s necessary so that you can decide which comment will be fruitful for your website or business and which one would hurt.
- Comment moderation shows that you are taking care of your blog’s health
Keeping the comments moderated from time to time increases your credibility and leaves a fantastic impression on your readers. They Visitors would love to see relevant comments and links in the comments section rather than searching for one in the list of spam comments.
- Don’t let your readers click and go to bad links
Take our word for it. If your blog reader clicks on that one bad link, they will curse you for keeping these links and not paying heed to them. Remember, that one bad link can make or break your subscriber base.
- Google hates bad links as much as you do
It’s definite that Google is going strictly over the bad links. If those bad links are listed in the comments’ section of your blog, Google will sense that too. We know that Google has a powerful sense. So be cautious of this fact. It’s not OK to approve all comments because these bad links are really going to hurt your blog.
How to Identify Legit Comments from Spam?
- Is the comment author using a real name? A legit comment will not have SEO keywords in the name fields of the comment box.
- Do you want to keep your competitor’s link in the comment box and hurt your business? Definitely not! Get rid of the link (only) if they comment something constructive along with their website link.
- The most important part is you should be able to see which is a genuine comment and which is a copy-pasted comment!
- Comments which have website links to related niches should never be deleted. For this, make sure they are not your competitor. When confirmed, just leave a kind thanks, reply and build a meaningful relation by leaving cross-reviews.
It’s now time to talk about the much annoying email spam and see how much good or bad is it?
Email Marketing or “Spam-ting”?
Who is not familiar or victimized with the much controversial Nigerian spams? Easy to find. This is not the case with promotional emails which are crafted in such a way, that you can’t detect them in one go!
Through Email marketing, a business gets a medium to reach out to the audience and readers who are regular customers and clients. It’s easy to approach the subscribers on your list with future deals, offers, and promo vouchers. Not only this, you have this secure place to kindly ask about the feedbacks and suggestions from your customers.
But how detrimental is it for your business if your emails go straight into the spam or junk folders of your subscribers?
You can lose out on conversions! Literally.
Many spam filters are adopted these days but the loopholes are caught by the spammers and another tool and trick come up in their notorious (dangerous) mind to outdo the spam filters. This game of cat and mouse goes on forever…A legit business should always send legit emails and here’s how you can make sure your emails don’t go to the spam or junk folder:
Follow CAN-SPAM Act Rules: Prevent your Emails from being Marked as Spam!
CAN-SPAM Act clearly defines the set rules and standards which every business must follow to make sure that their promotional emails don’t land in the junk or spam folder of the recipient. It gives every subscriber his right to opt-out of the subscriber list if he doesn’t wish to receive the emails anymore! Unable to be compliant with these standards can lead to serious and heavy penalties. Seems scary? It is.
- Never ever mislead your readers or subscribers. Don’t use misleading or false information in the header of your email. It creates a bad reputation for you in the minds of the recipients. It can be a costly affair to not comply with this rule.
- The subject line is meant to be the reflection of what your email is all about. So, always use it for that purpose only. You can definitely use creative and catchy subject lines. Don’t write on the subject what’s not there in the email content.
- Are you using your message as advertisement? If yes. Disclose to the recipient of the email that this message contains an ad. By doing this, you not only win the trust of the reader but also leave a good impression of being honest.
- It is your responsibility to tell the email recipient that where are you physically located! You have to include the physical mailing address of your business as registered with the Postal Service regulations.
- As a business, you should give all rights to the recipients to opt-out of receiving further emails. You’ve to be careful that your spam filter doesn’t don’t block these opt-out requests.
- Act instantly on opt-out requests received. Any delay in not responding to such requests within 10 business days. It’s your task to honor the wish of the subscriber.
- If you’ve hired an Email Marketing agency to handle your email marketing work, you and the marketing service will be held legally responsible for any activity not compliable to the above-stated rules.
Spam marketing is not just a common sight in Emails or Comments, it has something to do with Affiliate links as well.
Spam Enveloped as Affiliate Marketing?
What about Affiliate Marketing Spams which are not at all easy to identify. You must have seen how some websites lure you in their false affiliate baits and you as a customer, end up burning a big hole in your pocket by paying through your credit card online for things that will never be delivered to you!
Another way, a website can take advantage of the affiliate marketing links is by sending unsolicited emails telling you to buy the product through their affiliate link so that they can earn huge commissions on the product.
Not only this, you follow a particular website or even preach it for its awesome content. What if they start promoting products and write false reviews about them? They know well that the reader trusts them. Whatever they write is the gospel truth for their readers. Their only motive will be to earn huge commissions.
These tactics are quite scary but true to the core. So, if you’re a business, use affiliate links honestly and thoughtfully keeping your reader’s trust as the only important factor for your brand’s credibility.
Affiliate Marketing: To Disclose or not?
While some of the business marketers may find it funny to disclose to the readers that the links to buy products or services they have mentioned are affiliate links. On the other hand, it is pleasing for the readers who are the prospective buyers, to know that the links they would click on to buy the product/ service are an affiliate link.
It should be your responsibility as a business that you write genuine reviews of a product or service talked about. Misleading reviews or telling the readers only about the advantages of the product is incomplete information.
If you’re into business, you obviously would be having a website and email marketing campaigns to reach out to your subscribers and prospective buyers. If you still don’t own a website, you’re losing a great deal!
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Being Social or Undercover Spam?
Though all types of spam marketing are annoying social spam is the most irksome and provoking spam. Considering the time we spend on social networking sites today, it is most likely to affect the youth and adults alike. It is the content which is unwanted and not liked by anyone out there on social media sites.
This user-generated spam content resurfaces on the social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin, MySpace and countless other sites. It can appear anytime as you leisure around on these platforms.
Why this type of spam came up?
No wonder, social media sites were meant for socialization among the friends and acquaintances. The social spammers made these sites their victim when the email spam filters became more effective. In 2002:
Over 90% of social network users have experienced social spam in some form.
( Wikipedia )
This is a surprising fact! No one enters the social web world with the expectation of being spammed at odd times.
Automated spam/ bots, fake reviews, repeated requests, fake friends, fake likes, comments and many more malicious ways to reach out to a sea of people is becoming the trend in social media platforms.
Thankfully, many social networking sites have come up with Report Abuse/ Spam button to help people combat the spammers. Facebook pages are crammed with status like “Vote” and “Support” to rope in users’ likes and comments. Eventually, these pages are sold to others at whopping costs based on the total number of likes on the page.
Another hard fact to digest is that other users are enticed into liking and commenting on posts that would actually point to their “humanity” and “religion” or “faith in God”.
Hate speech and fake reviews are another ways to imbue spam. Malicious links are sent to users by the spammers. The users often land on weird pages after they click on these links. Worse than this? These links can stealthily lead to automatic downloading of malicious software that can disrupt your device or steal your personal information.
What’s the cold fact?
Spam marketing is cold, it’s not something that we expect to intrude in our daily life. It can be meaningful, at times it’s meaningless. But the sad fact is spam sells. That’s the reason, spammers have existed and thrived since the day spam was born. A business with legit business marketing tactics can sure reach the heights. People “hate” spam and those people are your prospective customers! What’s your take on spam marketing?