Use Email Responsibly: A couple of years back, a business associate came to me with a deal he and a friend were working on. They wanted my help in setting them up with an online web server or a web host who would let them send out unlimited "unsolicited emails" to a list of small businesses they had just bought.
Seemed their current ISP had frozen their account and then banned them. Both were complaining about how unfair the local ISP was being. The friend told me until they got shutdown that she had been making over a $1000 a week from people ordering their print services.
Now the print service was legit. They were a local printing company that would accept orders from over the net and then submit odd-job lots to a local printer who would run them on the cheap and drop-ship them to the customer.
The printer kept his presses and print crews busy, my associate and friend made a nice commission, and the customers got a nice stack of affordable business cards and letterhead. I told them, no thanks.
So what was the problem? IT was spam. It was spam then and it is spam now.
Any direct marketer can tell you it is very, very hard to get people to open up "junk"; I mean direct mail any more. Why do you think Publisher's Clearinghouse spends millions on contests, celeb endorsements and television commercials?
Why to get you to open their envelope when it comes to your mailbox, of course. Currently, over 40% of all emails delivered in the US are spam. Forty percent! For some people it may have reached over 50% or more. With that kind of volume it's becoming increasing tempting for your clients/customers/associates to just select all and hit DELETE.
There are legitimate ways to use email for marketing and customer service. Take the time to learn them. Why risk long-term earnings and reputation for just a few extra bucks?
So what happened to my associate? To the best of my knowledge, they finally found somebody who would let them run their spam list through their server. But after a couple of months, I noticed that his business had closed down.
Rumor had it several folks had noticed some shady deals he was involved in and wouldn't work with him anymore. Hmm...