If you visit political blogs, you may have noticed that some bloggers try to outsmart content filters that flag incendiary words by substituting numbers and symbols for letters (e.g., pr0p@ganda), or by inserting periods or spaces where they don't belong within words (e.g., m.orons).

Unfortunately, says Karl Foxley, he has begun to notice a similar trend among email marketers who seem to think the creative modification of words like free (e.g., f.ree and f/ree) is an effective way to use spam-tainted vocabulary without setting off a filter's alarm system.

"I understand how important it is to get your message in front of your customers," he writes at the FMS blog, "but if you are sending a message with f.ree or m.oney in the subject line and email body text, then your message may just get past the spam filters but it is going to look like spam to your subscribers all the same."

In other words, the delivery of such a message is a dubious victory if your recipients hit delete or, worse yet, flag it as spam. And let's be honest: If you're using such methods, their negative assumptions may be correct.

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