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The Internet Marketing Manifesto revisited..

As I cleaned up my e-mail spam this morning for the umpteenth million time, I thought about a piece I had penned for the old Google anti-spam groups, way back in 2002. Took a quick read and found that it’s every bit as apropos today as it was then. Originally called The Internet Marketing Manifesto (or how NOT to tick off your potential clients), and posted under my then user name ‘zippy’, it is a series of requests to people who like to think of themselves as ‘Internet Marketers’. If more people followed these 11 simple suggestions, the Internet would be a much cooler place..

1) Do not send advertisements via e-mail to me*, if I didn’t ask for it.

2) Do not scrape my e-mail address of my site, and then forget about rule 1. You see, my e-mail address is on my web site so you can communicate with me about my services. Not so that you can send me unwanted info about yours.

3) Do not claim I signed up for your mailing list if I didn’t (I get stuff all week long from Apple, Microsoft, Cool Site of The Day, Google News et al cause I signed up for their lists. I signed up for their lists ’cause I might be interested in what they have to say). If I don’t sign up for your list, I’m probably not interested in what you have to say.

4) If I have filters to erase e-mails with dirty words in the subject line, don’t misspell those dirty word so my filters think they’re something else. You see, the point of the matter is – I don’t want emails with dirty words in the subject field because I’m not interested in the content of e-mails with dirty words in the subject line.

5) If you want me to sign-up for your list, then set up a web site, with a closed-loop opt in process, and then try to get me to come to your site.

6) Do not attempt 4 by sending me an e-mail. I am a regular user of Google, so if your site has material that really interests me – I will eventually find it. And then, I might just sign up for your list. I may also visit your site, if a friend or family member has fond memories of their experience with you or your business.

7) If 5 doesn’t happen fast enough for you, well do not forget about rule 1. Instead, spend some cash and advertise your company – banner ads, magazines and maybe even TV commercials. If I see one of your ads, I might just visit your site and sign up for or your list. Or not. That’s the free market at it’s best.

8) If I do sign up for your list, do not lend, sell, or give my e-mail address to any of your buddies. I may have agreed to receive news about your services. I did not agree to receive news about theirs. Do not ‘borrow’ any lists from your buddies. (However, this rule should not be necessary if you follow all the others)

9) Whenever you send me e-mail, please use your e-mail servers, and your e-mail address as a return. That way, you’re not taking advantage of anyone else, and I can contact you if I need to. After all, e-mail communication should be two way – no?

10) Keep in mind that I am generally not interested in things that are illegal, stupid, or have the words ‘naked’, ‘zoo’ or ‘teen’ in the same sentence.

11) If I *subscribe* for your list, and then change my mind (see rule 10), make it easy for me to unsubscribe. One e-mail should do it. No jumping through hoops. No drinking a glass of water, while whistling Dixie rules. And manage the list. One request to unsubscribe – no more e-mail from you.

* whereas ‘me’ includes EVERYONE with a valid e-mail address