The Future of E-mail Marketing
By Denny Hatch
I am the proprietor of a funky little Web site, www.methodmarketing.com. It is my professional business card—a site for direct marketers to download some useful checklists and find a good bibliography of direct marketing books (including my own). When someone calls about the possibility of my writing copy or doing consulting, rather than go through all the hassle of putting together an elaborate kit and mailing it out, I invite them to visit the Web site to see how I work.
Here is an e-mail I received on August 14:
Undeliverable mail-- "welcome to my hometown."
The following mail can't be sent to email@example.com:
Subject: welcome to my hometown
I do not use the Web site to sell anything online. I do not use it for any kind of outgoing messages. So why was I getting this bounceback e-mail? I e-mailed the company that hosts methodmarketing.com, along with my other Web sites, and here was the reply:
What you are experiencing is called spoofing. What happens is a Spammer creates an e-mail with a false address (in this case he seems to have gotten ahold of yours). He then adds his legitimate address at the bottom of the message as a "reply to" address before sending out his thousands of e-mails to generic e-mail addresses. Because his sending address is "spoofed" and not his, he doesn't have to worry about all the returns that will come back, and all the legitimate customers will reply to the real address at the bottom… We cannot do anything about this because we can't control what people use as an e-mail address. If an e-mail comes in to our servers with a legitimate username, we allow it to pass. The only thing for you to really do at this point is wait. Spammers rarely use the same address twice for fear of being caught, so after a few days the return mails should stop…
—Chris Jones, Technical Support,
Magpage Internet Services
From the promise of a very bright future, e-mail marketing has degenerated into the filth medium that deals in penis and breast enlargement, work-at-home opportunities, triple-X excitement, obscene riches by partnering with the Nigerian Oil Minister, low mortgages, and—in this case—identity theft.
What is the real future of e-mail?
Folks who detest telemarketing have unlisted phone numbers. These are not foolproof; random predictive dialing can get to them.
My prediction on the future of e-mail: A network of unlisted numbers and/or private codes that automatically will filter out all Spam and allow the rest of us to communicate with each other in peace. This means Spammers will have no one to e-mail except other Spammers. Happy New Year!
Enclosed is the mousetype at the end of this Spoofer's e-mail. Can any computer literate reader figure out who he/she is from what follows? In other words, is it possible to go after people like this?—DH
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Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 14:13:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: postmaster To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Undeliverable mail--"welcome to my hometown" MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=Na9K0mXUL1vPWu7e0l89Og8K8S61335B7Eh X-Apparently-From: ICMinton@cs.com X-RRT-Status: UNKNOWN
Subject: Undeliverable mail--"welcome to my hometown"