At our recent Email Marketing Roundtable one of the attendees said: "I hear the phrase 'best practice' email marketing bandied about, and everyone nods sagely. I'm sure some people could give a definitive list, but where is that list? And is there a list of 'worst practice'?"

I had a little dose of worst practice this morning, something worth adding to any email marketer's Things Not To Do Under Any Circumstances Because You Will Have Angry, Disbelieving Customers list.

They may be wonderful in other respects, but real estate website's email strategy sucks.

For one thing, I never knowingly opt in to third party email, but that's exactly what I get from them - every day. The 'From' says, so there's no distinction between promotion and their own content.

And due to countless grainy embedded images of funny little viagjsrea pills (or however they spell it this week) I've gone into spam numbness these days. I don't bother unsubscribing much, and the delete key is my best friend.

Back to my tale of frustration, I got fed up today with Primelocation's impolite email strategy, so I tried unsubscribing. That looked easy enough. Clicked a link, popped up a reply window that was pre-filled, clicked send, breathed a sigh of relief.

But wait, I then received an email, going on and on about how I need to be exactly sure of the email address I sent them, because if it doesn't match exactly, blah blah blah. They really drill it home that they only have an automated system and there is no room for error.

And here comes the clincher. This 'Unsubscribe' email kindly informs me that:

"Your email address, exactly as it appears in your 'from' address, will be placed on our suppression list. Emails to that address should cease within 5 to 30 days."

Five to 30 days? Are you kidding? With all their automated precision surely they could do better than a vague 'should' and a limbo period spanning an astonishing 25 days?

So for our email delegate yesterday, there you go. Add this one to your worst practice list...

Worst Practice Email Marketing Activity #1
Unsubscribing, Tactic 3.4.1
Forcing your customer to receive your third party emails for 30 days after they've unsubscribed.


And to the other part of the original question, some of those best practice resources can be found on our Email Marketing topic page. The Roundtable notes are also available to download.

Jos Merideth

Published 27 October, 2006 by Jos Merideth

5 more posts from this author

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Comments (6)

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Michael Droy, Self-employed

Spam from 'proper' companies is even more annoying than the other 'viagjjra'- type detritus that plagues our inboxes. Ticketmaster also need to take a look at their policies in this area, according to a post on the Church of the Customer blog this week.

over 11 years ago

Mark Stonham

Mark Stonham, Business Development Director at Wurlwind

Another explanation is that someone has hijacked the 'legitimate' domain and is sending spam out to harvested email addresses. This is clearly damaging to the legitimate brand, as you are experiencing.

As webmaster of a domain I am getting 'bounce-back' and 'undeliverable email' messages for a domain that is being hijacked in this way. The original 'From' address has been computer generated at random, and is typically 3 characters such as

Forums have mixed opinions about whether it's practical or possible to track down the offenders and then get them to stop if your domain has been hijacked.

If you are receiving this 'spam' it may be worth alerting the brand via phone etc. in case they are unaware of it.

If you are responsible for a big brand then I suggest it's worth checking all the bounce-backs, in case your filter is masking a whole host of bounces generated by some other email broadcaster.

Good luck.

over 11 years ago

Chris Byrne

Chris Byrne, CEO at


Try the free and very useful for reporting spam. When you register you also get your own personal email address at spamcop to which you can forward the offending email as an attachment and they will process for you. A similar service for phishing is at


over 11 years ago

Jos Merideth

Jos Merideth, Marketing Manager at Econsultancy

Thanks for the support, guys.

The problem is it's 3rd party masked as Primelocation's own, with a sender's address of

The content is targeted to people who would be looking at property, so it's not 'proper' spam in that sense - but mortgages and life insurance and other non-Primelocation promotion.

Irritating. But, lucky me, it'll stop within a month. ;)

over 11 years ago


New Properties for sale in Scotland

You say that Email marketing is worst, but why do SEO experts and Internet marketing people take that huge money to market the companies online. Is there any other solution for this.

almost 10 years ago


New Cars India | New Bikes India

I was planning to market by website through emails. I need an advice is it good to use internet marketing or other techniques. If there are any other techniques please do advice me.

almost 10 years ago

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