"We all have opinions about what constitutes spam," begins a post at the Marketance blog. Indeed, while some would argue that meeting the letter of the CAN-SPAM law puts you in the clear, others insist such legislation is merely the jumping-off point for best practices.

In the end, spam is in the eye of the beholder. The Marketance post reports on an Epsilon survey that asked 4,000 consumers about messages they would label spam. The highest number of respondents said email is spam when it:

  • Tries to trick recipients into opening a message (74%)
  • Contains offensive subject matter (68%)
  • Is completely unsolicited (62%)
  • Comes from senders who are unknown to the recipient (61%)

So far, you're okay if you abide by CAN-SPAM—but then we reach considerable segments that take a harder line. These people think it's spam if it's:

  • Unwanted for any reason, regardless of subscriptions (37%)
  • Comes from companies with which the recipient has done business, but arrives too frequently (27%)
  • Tries to sell a product or service even when the recipient knows the company (24%)

"Regardless of what you consider as spam email," concludes Marketance, "it's important to be cognizant of what your subscribers think is spam."

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