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That's Too Fwd:

February 18, 2009  

When he saw a reputable marketer praising the use of Fwd: in the subject line of an original email, Matt Hill decided to explain why he disagrees. "[E]ven selectively this is a bad idea," he says at the Email Karma blog, noting that spammers often use this device to trick recipients into believing the message is somehow personal. "I have several very current examples of this in my spam folder right now."

Aside from looking like spam, there's also a possibility that labeling a non-forwarded email with Fwd: might violate CAN-SPAM's prohibition of misleading subject lines:

"It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission to a protected computer of a commercial electronic mail message if such person has actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that a subject heading of the message would be likely to mislead a recipient, acting reasonably under the circumstances, about a material fact regarding the contents or subject matter of the message."

Words to live by: The only time Fwd: belongs in a subject line is when you're actually forwarding an email from your personal account.


The Po!nt: Pull back. "You should never use [Fwd:] in a commercial or bulk broadcast," says Hill. "If it's not a forward, don't label it one."

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