“If you’re not interested, please reply with STOP”

“Just reply “DELETE” if not relevant.”

“If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please reply”

Seth Godin published Permission Marketing in 1999. And despite having nearly 20 years to “get the memo,” far too many people have either ignored the message or have concluded that the benefits of the alternative strategy outweigh the risks.

And in some ways, they are right.

It must work

If no one clicked a spam link, there would be no more spam, or spammers would just try harder.

If no one fell for phishing scams, there’d be no more phishing, or the phishers would try a new approach.

If no one ever purchased from a newsletter or cold email that they didn’t ask for, would people really keep sending those emails?

The numbers may be small but even less than 0.25% is still greater than 0.

The Impact

Since it works at least sometimes, we’re stuck with cold emails. We’re stuck with newsletters we didn’t ask for simply because we gave our business card to someone who asked for it. We’re stuck with pitches on our lead forms.

We’re stuck with the numbers game.

And you know who gets “stuck with the bill?” We do. It’s not the person doing the sending that has to manage this…it’s us, the recipient. Each and every one of us needs to opt out for something we never asked for.

The sender’s behavior is scalable, it can be automated, it doesn’t take much time. It’s no big deal to them.

The recipient will not be able to scale with this, it’s hard to automate, it takes time. It’s a big deal.


Have you ever added someone to an email list without their permission?

What about a cold outreach campaign, have you ever done that?

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