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Email Marketing

Email Marketing: How To Avoid Becoming A Mail Chump

By Internet Lawyer

mailchimp email marketingIf you have an email marketing list, you’ll want to protect that asset by regularly making backup copies.

Why is this important? Data loss and deplatforming.

Data Loss

Something can happen to your email autoresponder service. For example, I once had a client who failed to back up his lists. There was a server crash. And he lost a list of 325,000. What had been generating a very nice income for the client was gone in a flash. And under the terms of his agreement with his email service provider, they weren’t liable for his loss.


email marketing complaintA more recent trend is social justice warriors (SJWs) waging war by deplatforming those they disagree with on any issue. Typically this involves attempts to get the person’s social media accounts (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) banned for allegedly being racist, sexist, transphobic, etc.

The employee activists at these social media companies will often violate their own terms of service to arbitrarily implement a ban based on prejudged guilt because of the SJW’s accusation.

This deplatforming has now spread to email marketing service providers.

For example, yesterday a so-called “woke” individual tweeted a complaint to Mailchimp about a twitter user she accused of being racist, etc.

In response, Mailchimp promptly terminated the accused’s email marketing account.

Whether or not you believe the marketer deserved to have his account terminated because of his beliefs, the moral of the story is that you need to back up your lists because it could happen to you someday. If there’s a lesson to be learned online about disagreements, it’s that popular opinion today on an issue can make you a pariah six months from now.

Email Marketing Precautions

Before you sign up for an autoresponder service, be sure to read the provider’s terms of service so that you understand what the company’s official policy is on the content you send to your lists.

Make sure you have those regular list backups made so that you can port to another autoresponder service if there’s a server data loss or your account is terminated.

And be sure to comply with applicable email marketing laws. I cover many of these legal risks — and how to avoid them — in my book “Email Marketing: How To Protect Your Business When Selling By Email.”

Recommended Email Service Providers

At the present time, I can no longer recommend Mailchimp because of their complicity in deplatforming email marketers based on views.

Many of my clients use either ActiveCampaign or AWeber for their email marketing. I’ve used AWeber for the past dozen years to handle the firm’s lists and I’m an affiliate for the company. I highly recommend AWeber for simplicity and legal compliance reasons.


Is It Possible To Spam Email Customers?

By Internet Lawyer

Spam Email CustomersAn online music service has been accused of spamming existing customers. And the upset customers are demanding subscription refunds because of it. Some are threatening to sue.

Which raises the issue – is it possible to spam email existing customers?

Answer: Yes.

Here’s why…

Email spam is “unsolicited commercial email.”

email marketing legal guide rulesSome marketers believe buying means a customer agrees to forever receive new offers.

But that’s not true.

Of course, the law varies based upon where the customer receiving the email lives.

Yet there’s a time limit on how long you can send marketing emails post-purchase to a customer. After that, it becomes illegal spam if there’s no express consent.

This is one of the many email marketing mistakes (and how to avoid them) Internet Lawyer Mike Young covers in his new Quick Legal Guide
Email Marketing – How To Protect Your Business When Selling By Email.”

Google Customer Match: Can You Legally Upload Your Email Lists for AdWords?

By Internet Lawyer
google customer match email lists

Can you legally share your email lists with Google Customer Match?

On its surface, the proposed Google Customer Match appears to be a powerful marketing tool for you to use in your online business by taking advantage of existing email lists.

How Google Customer Match Will Use Your Email Lists

As explained by Ginny Marvin at in Google To Let Advertisers Upload And Target Email Lists In AdWords With Customer Match, this “marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in AdWords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists.”

In other words, you’ll be able to take email lists of existing customers and prospects who have opted in, upload those lists to Google, and target market to them using AdWords. You will also be able to market to similar demographics based on this email data.

Using Your Email Lists to Market through Facebook and the Wall Street Journal

As noted by Rolfe Winkler and Jack Marshall in their Wall Street Journal article Google May Offer New Way to Target Ads, Google’s new program is similar to Facebook’s existing “custom audiences” program. According to Winkler and Marshall, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, is also considering a similar type program for targeted marketing.

Can You Legally Use Your Email Lists in These Targeted Marketing Programs?

It depends primarily upon two factors:

(1) subscriber consent; and

(2) your autoresponder service’s terms and conditions.

Email Lists and Subscriber Consent

The terms under which subscribers opted into your email lists may determine whether or not you can share their email addresses with Google or another third party marketing and advertising resource. For example, if you promised not to share the data with third parties, you’re going to need to obtain consent to now share it.

Email Lists and Your Autoresponder’s Terms and Conditions

If you’re hosting your own lists in-house, this is a non-issue. However, many companies use third party autoresponder/CRM services for list-building. Examples of third party providers include AWeber and InfusionSoft.

The terms and conditions imposed by third party autoresponder/CRM services on email list use can restrict your ability to share email addresses with other third parties, such as Facebook, Google, and News Corp.

Email Lists and Intellectual Property Ownership

For Google Customer Match and programs like it, you should also read and understand the terms and conditions imposed upon uploading your email lists for use in targeted marketing. What intellectual property rights will you be giving away to your lists? Will Google receive a license to your email lists? If so, what does it cover?

Of course, to avoid issues with privacy laws, consumer protection laws, unsolicited commercial email (spam) laws etc. involving your email lists, consult with a qualified Internet lawyer before handing over your email subscriber lists to any third party.

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Twitter Fraud: Does Twitter Encourage Microblogging Scams and Fake Profiles?

By Internet Lawyer

twitterTwitter is at a microblogging crossroads. Each month, 60% of its users (Twitter Quitters) disappear. The churn rate is so high that Twitter has to take drastic measures to build its “community.” And that’s where  social media “gurus” come into play. Twitter turns a blind eye as black hat Internet marketing techniques are used to create multiple accounts with fake profiles, automated software is used to build large lists, marketing employees and independent contractors spend their time dumping out tweet spam, and autofollow leads to one fake profile following another…and vice versa.

There’s a a classic cartoon that states that on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog. On Twitter, many  followers/followees don’t exist except as part of someone’s social media list-building model. Community and providing value has little to do with it. Instead, by following a Twitter spammer, you’ll receive pithy tweets ripped straight out of Poor Richard’s Almanack, The Secret, Chicken Soup for the Idiot’s Soul, and interspersed from time to time with a pitch for you to click on a link that will take you to an e-mail lead capture (squeeze page) so that you can be marketed to by e-mail too plus get redirected to a sales page after providing your e-mail info. Want to launch a garbage info product about social media? Create a bunch of fake buzz (astroturfing) by having multiple fictitious Twitter users tweet about it to their followers.

Why would Twitter allow/encourage this type of fraudulent behavior to take place?

With a monthly user retention rate of 40%, Twitter needs scam artists to game the system in order to build up the raw numbers of its community. Like The Matrix‘s* Agent Smiths, tweeting spambots spread as a virus that Twitter finds beneficial because the community looks larger despite the number of humans who come and go.


The venture capitalists who have invested tens of millions of dollars are looking for a return on their investment. However, Twitter hasn’t figured out how to turn a profit from tweets.

To cash in, Twitter needs numbers, real or not. Here are two examples.

1. Advertising Revenues. Twitter is exploring means to capitalize on all of the marketing that occurs by advertising to users. That many of these users don’t exist is irrelevant. What matters is that advertisers think the numbers are real so that advertising buys are made through Twitter. And because most advertising is designed to win creativity awards for the ad agencies rather than produce an economic return on investment for the client paying for the advertising, generic buzz spin about reaching young audiences will be used to justify pouring money down the tweethole without seeing a corresponding increase in sales.

2. The Exit Strategy. The end game for Twitter’s venture capitalists is to go public and have the uninformed investor overpay for the company or, alternatively, dupe a larger company into overpaying as part of a takeover. For an example of the latter, look at NewsCorp.’s acquisition of MySpace (overrun by spambots and fake profiles) for a half a billion bucks.

It appears that Twitter is intentionally ignoring those who use the above methods of list-building and even those who use its system to sell how-to info products on abusing the system. Unless accurate user  numbers are provided to advertisers, current and potential investors, Twitter is looking at the potential for a few nasty lawsuits. And that’s a shame…particularly when the purpose was to build a community rather than a pyramid of nitTwits.

* “The Matrix” is TM & © 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Fair use of image for commentary.

To get the Matrix trilogy, click this link.

How to Avoid Spamming With Your Emails

By Internet Lawyer

aweber email autoresponder serviceIf you don’t really know how to market online without sending unsolicited commercial email (spam), you should invest your time in learning how to avoid breaking the law. It only takes a few complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to land in hot water simply because you broke anti-spam laws (such as the CAN-SPAM Act).

Fortunately, there are reputable email autoresponder services that can help you do the right thing. In particular, I recommend Aweber because of the company’s commitment to obeying the law when sending business email. You can learn about email marketing the correct way by watching one of Aweber’s free live video seminars.

Please note that in addition to recommending Aweber to my clients, I’ve personally used them for my autoresponder needs for several years and have been extremely satisfied with the company. Watch the email marketing videos and learn what they’re doing right to prevent spam complaints against Internet businesses just like yours.