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Ecommerce / Web Marketing Ezine
January 27 2002

View the TTB Ezine Archive

Taming the Beast Ezine - January 27 2002

Contents:

- A note from Michael and Kathy

- TTB Associate Spotlight

1. Free Offers!

2. Article Summary - Meta Tags and Zen (revised)

3. Article Summary - Paragraph One (revised)

4. From the archives - Email marketing ethics and spam reporting.

- Closing Notes, subscription and contact details


January 11 2002

Greetings All,

A special welcome to the 60 new subscribers to our Ezine! Another fortnight and yet another extra gigabyte of bandwidth required!

In this week's ezine, we review our articles published in the last fortnight. I've been revising a few originally published early last year, adding and modifying information. As the Internet develops, so do strategies - and we try our best to keep you up-to-date with developments.

This week's "From the Archives" article deals with email marketing ethics and the ever-growing problem of spam email.

Many articles are available from our site, free for reproduction on your web site or ezine. Subjects covered include Web Design, Internet Promotion and Marketing, Security and of a general cyberspace related theme. The article index can be viewed at:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles/articlemain.htm 

Please forward this newsletter on to those who you feel may be interested in the subjects discussed. Unsubscribe details at the end of the newsletter.

**TAMING THE BEAST CONSULTANCY SERVICES***

-Need a site developed? 
-Want to boost your search engine rankings? 
-Need a banner? - 4 of ours recently became high click-through prize winners!
-Don't have the time to promote your site yourself? 

Review the many consultancy services offered by Taming the Beast:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ admin/about.htm

ADVERTISING OPTIONS

Taming the Beast classifieds is a currently free service for web developers. You can submit advertisements for internet development (and cell phone) goods and services at no charge. Your ads will stay active for 28 days and you are more than welcome to re-post them after that time. 
Take advantage of this free service here:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ cgi-bin/classifieds/index.cgi 

We are also offering other advertising services, including excellent exposure for your company through our locally hosted banner serving software. Advertisers have their own real-time statistics area to track the progress of their campaign. To view all our advertising services:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ admin/fee-free-advertising.htm  

TTB Associate Spotlight

NEW SITE - KBASEONLINE.COM

Offers tutorials for newbies, right through to seasoned Internet professionals. Kevin's done a great job with this site and it's well worth a look.

KBaseOnline.com - your one stop source for information regarding databases, programming, consulting, operating systems, articles, tips and forums.

http://www.kbaseonline.com/ 

Want to be listed in our Associate Spotlight? Just drop me a line!

1. FREE OFFERS.

Through our new affiliation with FineClicks, TTB is now able to deliver a number of free offers to our visitors, including:

Anti-Virus Software
Business Software
Cellular Accessories
CD Cleaners
CD Cases
CD Label Kits
CD-Rs 
DVDs
Inkjet Refill Kits
Office Products
Software Utilities

All you pay for is postage and handling! Software products include full versions of Nortons, McAffee etc. To view these and many other great free offers, head out to Taming the Beast.net and select an option from the drop-down box on the right hand menu.

2. Article summary - Metatags and Zen (revised)

If you aren't utilising Meta Tags in your web site's pages, you may be missing out on valuable traffic and therefore paying customers!

View the full article here:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles/metatags.htm 

3. Article summary - Paragraph One (revised)

Search engines are strange creatures....

You spend hours developing your KEYWORDS, TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags, being careful not to spam and trying to develop a formula that will be accepted by all search engines for easy submission.....then you submit... and wait... and wait .....and wait.

View the full article here:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles/paragraph1.htm

4. From the archives - Email Marketing Ethics and Spam Reporting

As a web master and having a fairly accessible profile through your web sites, you will no doubt become the target of many spammers. I receive a number of spam mails daily and do something about them. Deleting them doesn't solve the problem - it's a blight on the Internet that should be stopped.

The history of spam

The history of spamming goes back to the early days of UseNet. UseNet is a compilation of messages into specific categories we commonly know as Newsgroups. It is thought that the term originated from a popular Monty Python comedy sketch about spam (spam is a somewhat interesting pork product). Spam is the equivalent of unsolicited junk mail, and at any given time there are millions of these emails floating around the Internet. It is estimated that spam mail constitutes twenty two percent of all active emails. All this unwanted mail is not only annoying, it actually slows down the Internet through the combined massive amounts of processing to transport it. And that is bandwidth that could be utilised for more productive means. We all pay for it.
Be careful what you tick!

Not all marketing email you receive is spam. If you have signed up for a newsletter on a website, this is called joining an opt-in (safe) mailing list. Make sure you read what you will actually receive before submitting your email address for an ezine. You may be getting more than you bargained for. If there is a privacy policy, read it. This will state exactly what will be done with your information. Any deviation from this policy can land the offending mailing list owner into a lot of trouble.

If you are a webmaster/marketer considering using email marketing methods, respect the people you will be sending your messages to. Don't just bombard them with sales messages, give them something useful for the time and effort they have spent in acknowledging your email. Their time is valuable. Ensure that you offer an "unsubscribe" function and heed unsubscribe requests....the first time. I give email marketers 2 chances to remove me from their mailing list. Then it's time to play hard ball....

Buying 'opt-in' lists

I have seen many mailing lists advertised for sale on the Internet. They all claim to be packed with eager customers who are sitting by their computers with bated breath, just waiting to read your sales copy. Be suspicious about these offers! Ask the vendor how they have sourced the names and get it in writing. I'm sure the last thing you want to do is to spend good money to annoy the hell out of 20 000 people who won't want to buy whatever it is your selling - but would quite gladly lynch you! (I choose to annoy my family instead, it's safer and it costs me nothing). Other safe lists contain only the names of people who have bought safe lists - you might find yourself preaching to the converted and totally uninterested in your product or service.

Email marketing does work and is a more successful form of promotion than snail mail or telemarketing - when it is carried out properly. Your sales copy must be professional; as I've mentioned in a number of articles, "BUY ME!" just does not cut it with net savvy customers. If you must purchase these lists, stick to buying them from high profile companies. It may cost more, but at least you will get your message out to those who actually may be interested in hearing it. The best way to create a mailing list is to create your own through your site and be specific in your privacy policy regarding how subscribers information will be utilised...When you do build a decent list and have promised subscribers not to distribute their details, you may be tempted to sell it - I suggest keeping the terms ethics, court case, law suit and compensation in mind.

Newsgroup postings

Another good way of using email type marketing is to post in newsgroups, but make sure it is the appropriate newsgroup. Before posting away, research the group. Are there rules posted up? Read what is being posted so you can get a "vibe" on how the group operates, what is acceptable and what isn't. I monitor a Domain Sales newsgroup on a regular basis and have witnessed what happens to over zealous marketers. The group descends upon them and sends them packing....

You could also monitor other discussion boards for opportunities to assist people by providing them with answers to their questions - proper answers, not just "to fix this you should buy this from me". I run a discussion forum and am more than happy for a commercial concern to promote their product if they have responded to a request for advice from another user. Marketing in this way also increases your credibility.

Reporting Spam

If you do receive spam, more often than not it won't contain instructions as to how to have your name removed from the list. If this is the case, do not answer it, but forward it to the originating ISP or Hosting service and they should close the offenders account. The originating service provider can be found in the message source. In Outlook express, you can extract this information by highlighting the message, right mouse button clicking and selecting "Properties". Then click the "Details" tab. Other email programs would have similar functions. When reporting spam, send the offending message as an attachment rather than using the "forward" option. The entire email message (which includes the header information) is more useful to the originating service in tracking the person/s down and is acceptable evidence.

If the spammer is an ISP or Hosting service, you can report them to the Better Business Bureau, or the equivalent organisation in your country. Spammers, when caught and convicted, face heavy fines in many countries.

Blocking email harvesting software

For the webmaster, your email address displayed on your pages act as a flag for the spamming "bots" which are used by companies to scan the Internet for new contacts to add to their mailing lists. Using the following code instead of traditional "mailto:" email links will greatly decrease the amount of spam messages you'll receive. Edit it with your details:

<script language=javascript>
document.write('<a href="mailto'+':'+'info'+'@'+'my website'+'.'+'com'+'">');
document.write('info'+'@'+'my website'+'.'+'com</a>');
</script>

The following are some other links where you can report incorrigible spammers:

http://spamcop.net/ 
http://www.abuse.net/  

If you would like to forward spam to the United States Federal Trade Commission, send it directly to UCE@FTC.GOV.

If you are a little more "hands on" and would get a kick out of busting spammers, this link will provide you with some excellent information and resources on tracking spam:

http://www.whew.com/On-Line_Spam/Tools/ Reporting/reportspam_trackresources.shtml  

In regards to guestbooks and forum spam, this article may interest you:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/articles /guestbookforumspam.htm 

So, whether you are an email marketer, or a netizen who is sick of mailboxes full of so much junk mail that you end up deleting important messages by mistake; you have a choice. Be part of the solution - the only other alternative is being a part of the problem.

Michael Bloch 
michael@tamingthebeast.net 
http://www.tamingthebeast.net 
Tutorials, web content and tools, software and community.
Web Marketing, eCommerce & Development solutions. 
____________________________

Copyright information....If you wish to reproduce this article, please acknowledge "Taming the Beast" by including a hyperlink reference to the website (http://www.tamingthebeast.net) & send me an email letting me know. The article must be reproduced in it's entirety & this copyright statement must be included. Thanks. Visit www.tamingthebeast.net to view other great articles FREE for reproduction!
------------------------------------


Well, that's all for this Taming the Beast update. We are very open to feedback, so please don't hesitate in contacting us.

We look forward to seeing you all on BeastBoard. Judging by the volume of advice requests we recieve via email, we know you're out there! - don't be shy, post your comments, queries and advice. Thanks goes out to those people who have already become an active part of our community:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/cgi-bin /ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi 

Regards from Australia

Michael Bloch & Katherine Tyndale
Taming the Beast - Established 1995
michael@tamingthebeast.net  
kathy@tamingthebeast.net 
www.tamingthebeast.net 
Tutorials, web content and tools, software and community
Marketing, eCommerce and Web Development Services

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