>In Defence of SPAM

>Let’s face it – I spam people. A Lot!

Each and every one of my readers has, at one time or another received an unsolicited email from me. It’s how I introduce myself and my writing and invite people to join this conversation. As much as the branding people at Hormel Foods might beg to differ, that’s spam. Although dressing up really cheap canned ham and tripling the price is marketing genius!

For the most part nobody complains and many, if not all of you who are reading this have taken the time to write back, become followers and even add your two cents from time to time. I really appreciate that. As I’ve said on a number of occasions, I don’t write this blog to stroke my ego or to spread my opinion. I sincerely and humbly just want to learn how the world works and hearing from my readers helps me to broaden my understanding.

But let’s call a spade a spade; I’m a spammer and a lot of people hate that.

When I send out emails inviting new readers I usually get one negative response for every twenty or so positive ones. Not a bad ratio when you think about it but one response this past week got me thinking. It wasn’t that it was a particularly well thought out argument or anything, it was just a simple statement;


But the fact that it was in all caps, bold, and italics made it seem as if I had gently tapped a stranger on the shoulder and he had spun around and punched me full in the face.

WOW – Who sneezed in your corn flakes buddy?

After the initial shock wore off I had another thought. What’s so bad about spam anyway? Personally I love it. (Not the canned ham, the advertising technique)

I’ve been in business for myself in one way or another for nearly 30 years now. I’ve tried every form of advertising going, commercials, direct mail, telemarketing, newspapers, you name it. Honestly, spam get’s a bad rap. Not only does it taste great on toast, there are three things that immediately come to mind which make spam a great form of advertising.

1) It’s far less intrusive than telemarketing. Studies have shown that it takes less than 10 seconds to determine if something you’re reading is of interest to you or not. If it’s not the delete button is an extremely effective tool for getting rid of unwanted messages. When was the last time you got a telemarketer off the phone that quickly? Not to mention the fact that spam never interrupts your dinner.

2) It’s more environmentally friendly than any print based media. No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post or any of the emails that I may have sent you in the past. If you feel the need to print everything that comes in to your email box it’s you who’s killing the trees, not me.

3) Dollar for dollar, spam is the most cost effective form of advertising going. In fact, other than time, sending (and receiving) spam is free and if you’re offended by the time it takes you to receive it, see point one above.

Bottom line, as a business person and budding author, spam is my promotional tool of choice and I’m not going to stop using it any time soon. If that offends you the delete button is in the top right corner of every computer keyboard, learn to use it, I promise I won’t be offended, I won’t even know.


  1. Suzanne Bean says:

    >Hi Lauren:I had to comment!!! I wasn't bothered by your email, actually I thought it was clever. I may use the idea myself 😀 With so many blogs on the web it is a great way to reach out and get to know others. Great idea!!!!Best regards,Suzanne

  2. hak55 says:

    >Dear Lauren,You just gave me a very good idea to sell my products and services.Thank you and best regards and have a good day.Hussaini Abdul Karim

  3. >I liked your email! I'm happy you found me. I do have a strong interest in philosophy. I'm fascinated by Anabaptists in particular. I consider myself a Gnostic, but every Gnostic has a different definition for that word, so it's really a useless term. It would take me several hours to explain to you what I actually believe, and there is no easy word for it.You may find my book list a little far from yours. Most of my philosophy I make up through my own observations and internal feelings about the universe, not necessarily from books (although the classics like Plato and Socrates are very dear to me, even Hobbes). But feel free to stop by my blog. I love getting comments, and I will return in kind! Thanks!~Tara

  4. >Good food for thought. Actually, there is a difference between spam with a commercial intent or malicious intent and spams which are genuine and bonafide. Your spam is more like walking up to a stranger and saying "Hi" or smiling at others. Nothing wrong as long as you do not continue to pursue or persist even after getting a cold shoulder – in which case it becomes akin to stalking !!Hopefully, you ahve a process of not hitting the same person more than once (in my case, you did).Best

  5. Lauren Sheil says:

    >Vishwanath…I try not to hit the same person twice but that can be difficult at times. Sorry about that.

  6. >No probs mate.. I have no complaints :-)cheers

  7. TulipanoNero says:

    >Dear Lauren, as web marketing manager I can say that spam practice is very different from your email used to inform people about your blog existence or updating. I think you should ask to each person registered if they want to receive through an email a periodic update and you have consequently to respect their will.In alternative to update your lectors about a blog news you can use the simple tool of twitter, that is less invasive than email (in this sense you just use it).About contacting persons that you don’t know, after the first email contact request, remember to ask them if they want to stop the email receiving. Pay attention because you could risk a legal complaint for privacy violation.Contact me for additional infos,Bye byeTulipano Nerop.s come and visit my blog: http://tulipanonero-designyourlife.blogspot.com

  8. >Lauren: I doubt that a single, introductory letter/invitation to joing is going to be a big problem for most people.On the other hand, persistent spam is more than an annoyance. It's a pain in the ass that can interfere with people's ability to maintain/manage their in-boxes. Notably, in the past I had so many spammers for a certain drug that I eventually abandoned the email address. Gave it up. The spammers won. I have seen spam where the senders, obviously the same senders, changed their address slightly with each mailing. Made it hard to stop the spam using filters. Etc. That kind of spam is malicious.I am sure that you would never resort to such tactics. Long story short, there's spam, and then there's SPAM. Ouch!

  9. Rick Frea says:

    >What you do is not spam, it's inviting people to share ideas with you. That's opportunity. People can either accept or reject the opportunity. Now if your out for personal gain (like to sell a product) then you're talking spam.Personally, it was through your technique that I got my writing job and have received many more writing opportunities since. It's also how I learned of other blogs I am interested in, like yours.I agree that what you do is a good idea and might try it myself someday.

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