Unsolicited emails, messages and information or links that you never requested for or permitted are ranked as some of the most deplorable and annoying acts in the online world. According to Wikipedia, SPAM is defined as electronically delivered messages that are unsolicited and often sent off in bulk in an indiscriminate manner.
Is spam limited to just emails? Absolutely not. As the internet evolves, so will methods of spamming. Just to name you few - Spamdexing (search engine), Spim (messages received via instant messaging systems, spam received via social networking sites, mobile phones, forum, blog comments and video spamming.
The real reason why people spam others is no secret – the act is often fuelled by the desire for instant gratification in the form of financial gain. The funny thing is that these people fail to see that they are hurting a perfectly neutral and possibly positive relationship in the long run.
Spam by Email. Spamming via email is a common offense and is universally frown upon by many online communities and businesses. The sad truth is that 90% of emails being sent out are spam and billions upon billions of dollars is being spent every year to fight this terrible enactment. Taking a look at my very own email inbox, I see spam emails soliciting business for search engine marketing and link building. I can only sigh in exasperation because they fail to see that by pushing their deals at me without trying to build a relationship with me is a complete waste of time.
Social networking Spam. Although it is easier to control social networking spamming (because users get to choose who to add and remove from their friends list), it is frustrating to deal with such misuse. The most popular platform for social networking spamming is....yes, you have guessed it – Facebook. Spamming via Facebook is even more annoying than email Spam because Facebook is supposed to be a networking site. A place where people make friends, share stuff with each other...in other words, a site that lets you build personal relationships with people that you have added as friends. It is not a site built for SELLING.
For those who are unfamiliar with the uses of Facebook, you might not know how businesses Spam people on their friends list. One good example would be the 'status update' box. Instead of posting their thoughts, they post advertisements hoping that someone will look them up and respond. Sorry, no one will do.
The other way to Spam on Facebook is to chat the person up. I am no stranger to these types of Spamming. While using Facebook, out of the blue, someone will try to chat me up and then sell me something.
A very common problem on Facebook spamming is when people tag a photo (often a picture of their product) without you in it. One, they want your attention. Two, they get free advertisements on your friends list too. How convenient.
Most of the messages sent to me via Facebook are sent by people who are trying to make a quick sale.
SMS Spamming. Although sending out an SMS costs money, businesses continue to spam via SMS too. People in the marketing industry refer to this type of spamming as 'm-spam.'
In a way, SMS spam is even more annoying than email spam; while you can delete the email without having to read it, you have to read the SMS spam before deleting it. Malaysian telecommunication companies may be fighting neck to neck for business but if they had to agree on one thing, it would be that SMS Spam is going to be the next big challenge to tackle.
Instant Messaging Spamming. Another form of spam is via instant messaging systems like Skype or MSN, they are also known as SPIM. Sadly, I have personally been a victim of such bothersome antics.
Forum Spamming. Forum Spamming runs on autopilot. They are done by what we call Spambots. These Spambots automatically search for and detects topics in forums and then post out-of-topic text together with links to websites that it is promoting. The primary aim is to generate traffic to these sites. The annoying thing about forum spamming is that it sometimes comes with a long list of links to sites that is of no interest to you at all either in the main text area or the signature field.
Blog Comment Spamming. Similarly, we have the same scenario with blog comments. They work the same way spambots work with the hope of generating traffic and increasing the number of links pointing towards the websites.
Video Spamming. Spammers know no boundaries and this can be seen with video spamming. With much creativity, these people will upload a video with a head-turning or suggestive caption or title which makes people want to watch the video. Needless to say, viewers will soon realize that the video content has very little to do with what was promised.
Search Engine Spamming. It all began with the introduction of old-school search engines like Lycos. That was when people learned how to play the search engine at its own game. Today, there are multiple ways to spam search engines and the most used methods are keyword stuffing, hidden or invisible text (keywords) meta tag stuffing, building doorway pages, scraper sites, article spinning, link spam, URL redirection, mirror sites, cloaking...you name it, they do it. Overwhelmed with the number ways to spam a search engine? Even as you are reading this, I am sure someone out there is inventing a 'brand new way' to spam them. As technology evolves, so will the methods.
In the next newsletter, we will be discussing the issue of email spamming in further detail. I will share with you my knowledge about what email spam is and we will crunch some numbers. In the newsletter, you will also find out which country is tops in the email spam list, the topics that people usually spam you with and why it is unlikely that email spam will go away. Email spamming will not go away simply because in order to build an online relationship, email marketing is a must-have tool.
This is the way book-selling giant, Amazon.com, build relationships with its loyal customers. Suffice to say, in order to make full use of email marketing, we need to AVOID (at all cost) being blacklisted as a spammer.
Hard to do? I'll share some secrets with you in my next newsletter. Stay tuned.
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