The Can Spam Act of 2003 that President Bush has indicated he will sign into law should help clear our inboxes of some of those annoying, unsolicited messages, but will it help restore the reputation of the e-mail marketing industry? Today's article in the Boston Globe, "Clearing the Way for Legitimate E-mail?" looks at the Act's promises and wonders whether it will have a positive effect on legitimate e-mail marketers, including small businesses, who use e-mail marketing as an inexpensive and quick way to reach new customers.
The industry might have a bit of a struggle coming back after the tsunami of spam consumers have been subjected to in recent months. Most of us are now programmed to dump any e-mail coming from someone we don't know. Recognizing this, many businesses have abandoned e-mail marketing all together and have instead relied on promotions and newsletters to existing customers to keep them coming back.
"Marketers have to completely rethink and understand e-mail as a medium," said Peter Mesnik, cofounder and chief technology officer of e-mail marketing business IMN, in the article, but it seems to me that it will be a bit more complicated than just "rethinking" the medium. Businesses will have to find a way to change consumers' knee-jerk reaction of deleting unsolicited e-mails. The new law would allow businesses to send commercial e-mails until the recipient opts out of receiving them, but how do you get consumers to open them in the first place?