Avoid Spam Part 1 – Disposable E-Mail AddressesAlan Jones
How to get a disposable e-mail address – A Video Tutorial
So you want to avoid SPAM? This is the first article in a series. I intend to publish a second article soon that will explain further simple steps you can take to avoid SPAM. How to keep you mailbox tidy and shed some more light on some of the techniques used to manipulate you.
Your e-mail address for a FREE Download.
How many times have you been offered something FREE whilst searching the internet in return for your e-mail address? You may have been offered a FREE eBook, PDF or document template. Then, a few days later, you find yourself bombarded with emails from the site you provided your e-mail address to. You try to unsubscribe – some genuine sites will remove you from their mailing list after you have obtained their free download, whilst others ignore your request or even use the unsubscribe or ‘opt-out’ function to establish that you are actually opening and reading their e-mails – only to then send you even more! How sneaky!
The number one marketing technique you will read about everywhere is to “Build a mailing list” and from a psychological point of view, if you give somebody something FREE, they feel happier to give you something in return, i.e. your e-mail address. This is the reason why you will see this technique used everywhere. Unfortunately this results in a huge increase in marketing and sales e-mails (SPAM) in many cases.
So, what happens to my e-mail address?
Once you have provided your e-mail address it is automatically (in many cases) added to an automated mailing list service (such as Campaign Monitor, MailChimp or even InfusionSoft which is a fully fledged Marketing and CRM system). These tools allow you to maintain your list of subscribers automatically without any manual intervention. You can link your mailing list to your website Newsletter Sign-Up form and new subscribers are added automatically.
Once the site owner has your e-mail address you are considered ‘a lead’. Then, with some custom setup and configuration, the software steps in and runs the show from this point forward. You can receive e-mails that look like they are ‘personally addressed to you’ in order to try and develop a relationship. The site owner will create two or three e-mail templates, each one offering something better than the first. The software schedules these e-mails to be sent to you in order to ‘stagger’ the delivery. The content of the e-mails contain links which are monitored by the software and reported on to the site owner to help them determine what you are interested in. They are also told when you open and read the e-mail. Once the ‘list builder’ has your e-mail they can send you e-mail as and when you
So with this very brief explanation out of the way, I am here to try to ‘blow the whistle on’ and educate people as to how this all works whilst at the same time hopefully providing some tips and tricks to help you get what you want and stay one step ahead of the marketing wizards who think they are smart.
In the UK, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 cover the sending of email marketing. This legislation says that organisations must only send marketing emails to individuals if you have agreed to receive them, except where there is a clearly defined customer relationship. This law doesn’t apply outside the UK.
Can I get the FREE download without providing my e-mail address?
Technically no. The form requesting your e-mail address controls whether you see the link to the download or not. In order to get passed the form the mandatory entry of an e-mail address is required. Forms are getting smarter these days too and many marketers do not rate public e-mail address such as Hotmail (Outlook) or GMail and may include some validation on the form fields to reject any e-mail address containing @hotmail.com or @gmail.com. This way, you are more likely to provide a more personal e-mail address.
Most marketeers and their system use another feature called ‘Double opt-in’. You will have been on the receiving end of this many times and perhaps not realised what is happening. You sign up and enter your e-mail address and you do not receive the link to download your goodies straight away on the next page. Instead, you are notified that an e-mail has been sent to you containing a link to download your free goodies. There was you thinking that if you provided an e-mail address of’ firstname.lastname@example.org you would be able to bypass the form and get your download – nope the marketeers are ahead of the game on that one too. The e-mail containing the link is sent to an e-mail address you do not own and you cannot get your download. So how can I get my download and avoid SPAM?…..
Enter the disposable e-mail address.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a disposable e-mail address that you could own just for as long as it takes to receive the e-mail containing your free link to your download. You could receive the e-mail, click on the link to download your goodies and then throw the e-mail address away. This sounds a great idea. Well, I am here to tell you that’s exactly what you can do. The e-mail address you provide to the site is a genuine mailbox you can gain access to and retrieve mail from and then when you are done, you simply ignore it.