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You’re important when you’re marked “Not Spam”

The Internet is a funny place. I mean funny in a quirky kind of way, because we are forced to think in ways that we simply don’t need to consider in the offline world. As a result, we can either be incredibly informed or actually miss out on valuable data. The overload of information and the less-than-perfect automation we apply to help us manage it all only makes this more difficult.


A case in point is the ever popular spam filter. It’s an important piece of our daily existence,as we try to cut through the junk thrown at us to either rip us off or spread a virus. The trouble is, just like a tuna net catches a few dolphins, the spam filter catches some really important information which might mean that you never see it at all.
I have figured out how to use this particular issue to my advantage and to the advantage of those vying for my attention. It requires some work, but I have found value in the effort. What I do is to look at all of my spam folder e-mails (it’s really a more focused scan than a real read because it can be time consuming). Inevitably, I catch something that is of value to me. I immediately tell Google it’s not spam and it then goes to my Inbox.
While this sounds mundane, it really is the ultimate compliment to those e-mailers that I am truly interested in. You see, if my spam filter has decided for me that something is spam, then it is immediately suspect in my mind. Now, I am at an information crossroads of sorts, as I have to decide whether something that I once deemed valuable enough to be e-mailed to me is still worth keeping.
As a content provider, this is where the rubber meets the road. At this point in the process, I am now taking a quick inventory of whether that data has been important to me in the past and whether I feel that it will be important enough in the future to continue receiving it. This is the online version of the dead letter office, but with a chance to make a save if it truly shouldn’t be categorized with all of the lowly e-mails for Viagra, Cialis and myriad other incredibly annoying things that call the spam folder home. This is a chance for e-mail redemption, if you will.
Now I have a new measure of whether someone or some company is truly important to me: I put a check next to their e-mail then push the “Not spam” button. This moves them to my inbox, where the rest of my wanted e-mail lands and resides. I suspect there is “prodigal son” kind of celebration amongst the other e-mails as they celebrate the return of this e-mail to the place where it belongs.
So my question to you is, “Are you creating content and providing data that will get you marked ‘Not spam’?” Are you creating value when you communicate with people? Are you taking up valuable time and space or are you adding value to the time spent with you?
We are all in the content creation and generation business. That can make for a l “stand out” material that makes it hard to leave in the spam folder if it ever got there.
How do you accomplish this? What techniques work for you, for your customers, and for your business? Can your content escape the spam filter of the world?

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Discussion

  1. Avatar Mike Moran

    Thanks for the reminder, Frank. After reading your post, I looked at my own spam filter for the first time in months and found hundreds of comments to this blog, many of them that should have been published. I’m sorry to everyone for the delay in publishing their comments and thanks to Frank for reminding us all that we can’t trust spam filters implicitly.

  2. Avatar miss dewi

    I also hate spam. but spam can not be eliminated on the internet. many people play on the internet. but very few that give value. Most of them are spam.

  3. Avatar Jan Lam

    Hello! Thanks for your column. Funny to say, but it was while I was checking the junk mail files that I rescued your newsletter! While my spam filtering system does do quite a good job, it is far from perfect. I faithfully check the junk mail bin several times a day, rescuing the legitimate emails, even though I seldom read them all. I beleive it would be unfair to legitimate senders that I empty the junk bin (which reports the files to delete as spam) without sorting out the good from the bad. I scan very quickly the subjects or senders. It usually takes only a few seconds, as long as you check frequently. If I really never read some newsletter or another, I prefer to unsubscribe. It is my sense of internet ethics.

  4. Avatar Reeds

    Hi! I enjoyed reading your post. Some data are not spam yet sometimes spam filter systems go on berserk, cutting out valuable infos. 😉

  5. Avatar ChrisCD

    I do check my spam box frequently, but don’t always “rescue” non-spam if I don’t feel like reading that particular piece. But, know you have me thinking, that it isn’t really fair to leave them in that bucket. So I will be better about rescuing the good guys.
    cd :O)

  6. Avatar Emma

    My current mail provider is really good in filtering spam. However I usually check the spam once a day to ensure that there are no important mails in it. I have to confess that I leave newsletters I am not interested in without reading them.

  7. Avatar Mike Moran

    I am now trying to do the same thing, Jan. I agree it’s unfair for something I subscribed to to be marked spam, and I just rescued one today. Thanks for rescuing our newsletter from your spam bucket.

  8. Avatar railroad track construction

    i don’t like when i see my spam folder is full and more when some of my important mails are also part of junk folder.I usually delete it without reading it .

  9. Avatar Janitorial Supplies

    it’s funny when your own emails end up in your own spam folder, its like my email is directly telling me that i’m full of it.

  10. Avatar Stephen Webb

    As spam becomes more prevalent and harder to filter, it is inevitable that quality content will be filtered out and marked as spam mail. Searching through your spam box to see what good content has been accidentally marked is done by some, but you can’t guarantee this for all readers.
    Really the only solution is ensuring the content you write is worth reading and will ensure that reader looks for this if it suddenly disappears into a spam filter. If the content is consistently that good that the reader misses it then you can be sure they will look through their spam if this is missing.

  11. Avatar Ann

    Usually when I go through my spam folder, I just read the title and if I don’t feel like reading, I immediately mark them all and delete.

  12. Avatar lyndi0810

    My spam filter is always on but I still check my spam folder once a month if there are some important messages that were caught by the spam guard.

  13. Avatar vinyl siding richmond

    Yesterday i registered myself on a forum website and without knowing i got validation e mail in spam folder. What if i deleted it without looking at it?The website administration should mention it and moreover, spam stuff should have specific criteria.

  14. Avatar vinyl siding richmond

    Yesterday i registered myself on a forum website and without knowing i got validation e mail in spam folder. What if i deleted it without looking at it?The website administration should mention it and moreover, spam stuff should have specific criteria.

  15. Avatar lynneldfd

    I usually check first the sender before deleting all the messages in my spam folder.

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