I would consider it spam, unless the customer was clearly notified that this would happen and had the option to opt out.
With that being said, I emailed an update to all previous customers of ToW without notice.
just because i buy something from you doiesnt mean i ever want to hear from you again.
I dont even bother with newsletters anymore. 99% of email appears to be spam, do i really think its worth getting put on spam blocklists for the 0.01% of people who will read the newsletter?
I also have a problem where even regnow or plimus emails seem to get bounced by people as spam. Unless something is done NOW, email will become entirely useless. I get around 1500 spams a day now. the people responsible should get the death penalty as far as I'm concerned.
Nice passion there, cliffski.
You could always email them once with a link that would allow them to recieve further emails. If they don't join your mailing list (or whatever it is) they can just let it go by not responding. It's easy and hassle free, and it shows you care about what they want.
I get thousands of spam emails a week, but I don't mind receiving emails from companies, as long as I feel like I'm recieving them for a reason. The moment I start getting two emails a week about products I have no intrest in, or some other garbage, I start to call it spam.
Make sure your email is not appearing on any public web page.. you might have registered on a forum where your email is visible and hance grabbed by the spam email crawlers. Perhaps googling your email address may give you an indication.
As for an automatic subsciption to a newsletter, that's technically spam!
Personally I think that is a mistake. I find that people who have subscribed to the newsletter are very, very receptive to buying. Yes, not everyone on your list will read the newsletter, but of those that do I find a good percentage of them make a purchase. And as for getting blacklisted, if you use a 3rd party newsletter service like www.ymlp.com that isn't really an issue.Originally Posted by cliffski
Free Game Downloads
From Redclaw Games
Absolutely, Redclaw. I make big piles of sales every time I announce a new release through my (opt-in!!!) newsletter. Yes, MY inbox is nothing but a giant flood of spam, but my average customer isn't someone whose email is plastered all over the web, so they get considerably less and actually look at the titles of each email they get (actually I do too, it just takes a LONG time). I remember how funny it was when my dad freaked out that he was getting 25 spams a day. Oh, the horror!
I'm in the camp that says it's spam to send them an unasked for newsletter. It's not LEGALLY spam, but it's bad manners. I always try to do things the way I wish other companies I encounter would do them, and I hate receiving any email I didn't ask for. I have opt-in boxes (which are NOT pre-checked, another pet peeve) on the checkout page of my site, so anybody who does want to hear more from me is able to say so. The boxes are very visible and right near the submit button, so I presume anyone who doesn't click them doesn't want to be spammed!
For those of you that say a newsletter is spam if not opt-in (and I agree), what about update notifications for the product?
Put update announcements on your website. I rarely sign up for developer newsletters, but I periodically check developer websites for update/patch announcements. Putting announcements on your site also has the side benefit of showing people that you support your products, you're still in business, etc.Originally Posted by Lizardsoft
My definition of spam is randomly targeted emails. People who grep the web for emails and send a million penis enlargement pill ads randomly in the hopes that large numbers and small percentages will pay off.
Contacting customers I don't strictly regard as SPAM in that same sense.
However, that being said, I only mail those customers who opt-in. I don't consider it true spam to mention a product upgrade to someone. In fact I'm sure many people who are unaware of various free upgrades would appreciate it. But all the same I consider it a question of respect to the customer to let them choose whether or not they want to be contacted.
I do make some odd exceptions though. For instance if I discovered a very bad bug in a new game I would mail everyone and tell them about the fix. Or in certain cases if I get an email from a 3rd party sales site where I can't ask the customer when they buy, then I may mail them once and ask them if they want to be notified of product updates.
I don't think that emailing customers about my games can be considered spam.
I consider spam emailing to me emails concerning VIAGRA
If I buy a game and the company want just to inform me about new releases, is ok. After all if I don't want to read it, I can just look at the sender and if I see "Winter Wolves Newsletter" I instantly delete it
It's bad when you start to see randomly generated names "andrew miller" - "John" - "Rebecca" etc with absurd subject that I get angry...!
When I purchased a book from Amazon they promptly started send us "We value your feedback" and "Special no shipping charge this month" type messages. Personally thought it was quite clever as the wording made it feel like they really provided you something useful that wasn't garbage spam.
think of it in retail space though. I just bought a whole bunch of sausages for a barbequeue. If tommorow night I got a phonecall from someone saying "We are glad to see you bought some sausages, maybe you would enjoy some of our new tasty chilli sauce?" I'd be livid. Why is it any different if the transaction is digital?
When I buy sausages, I dont have to give the shop my phone number, but if I buy a shareware game, I HAVE to give up a means of contacting me post-sale. This dosent mean I want to be contacted, any more than I wanted a phone call from the supermarket.
Personally, it would be the annoyance of the phone acll that would upset me, not the offer. If a shop mailed me saying "We see you bought X, here's a coupon for Y" I would not be angry. I might or might not bother looking at the mail, depending on how busy I was, and I might or might not use it, but it wouldn't freak me out.
Some people, it would, which is why there's all the anti-loyalty-card paranoia. I think it's best if you leave it as a checkbox people who really don't want news and offers can untick. Mailing people who *don't* want to be mailed should only be done in cases of very important announcements (like bugfixes, or if you're having an honest-to-goodness going out of business sale, may as well mail everyone for the last hurrah - if you're leaving anyway, you won't be around to complain about the spam to for long. )
I've gotten so many spams from Andrew Miller that I've filtered that name.Originally Posted by Jack Norton
Your customers are a goldmine. You can throw definitions of spam around or your "moral" beliefs on spam all you want, but here's the key:
If you believe you will gain more sales than you would lose in reputation and sales through angry customers then you should send it. Else, don't.
I will always reccomend my clients use any means neccessary to get the word out. I certainly don't force them to (in fact, one of them refuses to use this method), but risking people yelling spam or being angry is generally worth the big boost in revenue. This is SPECIFICALLY true for any company which has not been dividing the e-mails out ahead of time with an opt-in feature... but may even be true for one that has.
My point on this issue is: Do what is best for your business, and that in turn is what is best for you. (Over simplification of the capitalistic rule... of course, game theory slightly disagrees and says that you should do what is best for you in conjunction with what is best for the rest of the world...)
Not 100% sure about this, but technically from a legal perspective (in the US and several other places), any unsolicited newsletter for which a recipient has not excplicitly signed up is considered spam. This includes even beneficial notifications about free upgrades etc. That is, the recipient can still legally report you as a spammer.. it would have to be a sadistic ba***rd to do that sort of thing anyway.. but it's possible!
So do you think it would still be worth the risk to send out notifications without an opt-in, no matter how minor?
As he knows, I TOTALLY disagree with Terin. That kind of thinking is why the world is in the craphole it is today (in every sense, especially the environment, but marketing is a major one). You MUST MUST MUST apply your morals to your business or you are Enron. After all, the only thing they did wrong was to get caught. Cooking their books raised their profits, so it was the right choice (under the assumption they wouldn't get caught) - who cares if California was economically crushed by it? You know all those viagra spams you get? All 46 billion of them? Those exist ONLY because they make more profit than it costs to send them out. What Terin is telling you to do is absolutely the only reason we get spam (of the non-debatable sort) today. If the people doing them put any moral thought into the annoyance and outright damage to businesses they cause (and they know it's happening!), they wouldn't do it. And viagra sales would dip by 0.2%.
All I'm saying is, people, you don't have to run your business at 100% efficiency. You're not a robot. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself, and presumably if you're an indie, you run this business because it's what you love to do. You're gonna love it a lot less if it turns you into a ruthless bastard.
Rant conclusion: if you DON'T think it's spam (or otherwise wrong in some way) to do this, go ahead and do it. But if you DO think it's spam, don't justify it by the profits it will generate you, or you will be completely deserving of all the hundreds of thousands of spams you get from kgkjhfgjh@kjhtkh every day. You're the problem! YOU are kgjjkhth@kghkjt!
So, Mike... Let's say you made a new version of Dr. Lunatic. You sold 6 copies before you realized that there was a terrible bug in it that wouldn't let the player get past level 3.... Would you email those customers?
Retro64 Computer Games
You've just lost yourself a bunch of brownie points.
If you take your argument to its logical conclusion then killing your competitors will be great for you, though not for the rest of the world.
Being a capitalist does not mean you have to be rude or impolite. Being plain greedy is enough.
That in fact happened! And I didn't email them. I posted on my forum, and emailed my announcement newsletter. When people buy, they can opt-in to either or both newsletters. If they don't, they probably don't want to be bothered, and if they do get stuck and bothered, I'm sure they'll email me and ask about it. But if your question is would I call that spam, I wouldn't. Spam laws have gotten pretty sniffly lately, so it might be legally, but I certainly have no moral problem with telling people there's a fix for something they bought. I don't do it, partly because it's too much trouble, and partly because I like to err on the side of less spam. Starts getting hazy when you're telling them there's new levels available for free, and gets downright blatant spam when you're telling them there's a sequel available or some such.
Hey, everybody's got their own ideas, all I'm saying is stick to your guns, don't throw away your ideals because it'll make more money. Do what you think is right! In the end, the long long run, you'll probably make MORE money by being kind and respectful to your customers. And if you don't, so what? If you can't succeed in business being nice, you'll get an ulcer and die of a heart attack. My customers love me!
Mike I got no the connection - "your customers love you" (great btw!) and what?
We interpret our newsletters as help and advice to our current and potential customers - so, we also respect them very much and that's really mostly the question of wording - in connection to a problem in common and inside the newsletters as well.
Yes, all ours are opt-ed. But check the title of the thread "newsletter=spam?" - sure not!
"spam is randomly targeted emails" - that's 100% correct - RANDOMLY targeted...
Sending unsolicited emails is spam.
Having said, that you can take a middle of the road approach. How about sending out an email that says: Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter? Click here for yes. You are still spamming (but its just 1), but at least its better than signing everyone up for a newsletter they may not want.
I have bought a lot of shareware games and researched many indie websites over the past few months, and Dexterity Software and Hamamu Software are the only indies who can make this claim. Extremely customer-aware.My customers love me!
Ok.. let's take the hypothetical case of the new version of Dr Lunatic crashing on level 3:
While morally it would be beneficial to notify your customers and offer your assistance with an update, legally, it could still be considered as unsolicited email.
I think the wisest option would be to post a notice on your site's forum. If any angry customer (not subscribed to the newsletter) asks you why he / she wasn't notified, simply pull out your law book and quote the law stating something to the effect that you are respecting his/her privacy by not sending them unsolicited mail. At that point, it would also be a good opportunity to re-emphasise the benefits of subscribing to the newsletter.
In summary, do your best to keep your customers happy, but "cover your butt" in case a psycho customer wants to give you trouble.
Unsolicited email is not spam. Mass unsolicited email is. If you were never allowed to email someone who had never contacted you before, we wouldn't get much communication done over the Internet, would we?
That's why the anti-spam 'laws' are pretty touchy right now - it's very hard to define. There's stuff that's clearly spam, and stuff that's clearly NOT spam, and a grey area between.
In the U.S., the new "Do Not Call" list exempts businesses with which you have an established relationship - you have done business with them within a certain period of time (I think one year). So in the above example - I'd say that legally and ethically it would be fine to email your customers to let them know of an issue.
Of course, you can get your domain blacklisted by doing practically nothing at all, but that's another story.
This only appears to be applicable to the UK but...
To quote a section...
So this means its ok to send an existing customer details of any updates\new games?There are limited exceptions to the need to obtain
consent including where the recipient's details have been obtained by
the sender during the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of
a product or service to that recipient and the direct marketing is for
similar products or services.
Well, I'll soon release the version 2 of my game and plan to give it for free to all the registered users of the version 1.Originally Posted by kerchen
I don't think they will accuse me of spamming if I email them about this. Well I surely hope so.
I don't think a simple note on my website would be enough since I doubt they visit my site often.
Last edited by AnotherDev; 08-05-2004 at 06:29 PM.
I don't believe people care about what technically is or isn't spam. They care about people sending them an email that doesn't benefit them in some way. If spam benefited people, I don't think they would have a problem with it. But, as we all know, spam does exactly the opposite.
If you send one helpful email to your customers, it's unlikely they will have a problem with it, whether they technically believe it's spam or not.
I think I could make the argument that the correct moral thing to do is notify your customers in some cases. I guess it might depend on the bug itself. What if it were "formats 30% of hard drives" on level 3? Simply stating that you were within the bounds of the law and therefor are not responsible is not an ethically sound position. I think a customer would have a pretty good and totally fair argument that you should have told them.Originally Posted by Nemesis
Personally I think Hamumu is too strict in his interpretation of what spam is. I personally don't mind receiving notices from companies where I've bought a product. To me there's an implied interest. That's very different than the 100-500 or so emails I receive completely randomly every day because some company used a virus or some other illicit means to harvest it. It's a world of difference.
The problem really is that some companies take advantage and some don't. There's a blurry line. What is taking advantage? Is 1 email a week telling me of new releases too much? For me yes.. for others maybe they like it. Whenever I send even my double opt-in newsletter I get mail from people saying "Hey thanks! I look forward to this" and mail from other people saying "Unsubscribe me at once you bastard!" because they forgot they joined. At some level when you're mailing thousands of people every scenario starts to present itself. Is one email a year saying a new version pr free upgrade is available and adds 30 new levels taking advantage? I'd say no. I want that email!
Yes.. but we do, because we want protection in case, for some crazy reason, someone decides to act on it and the law isn't on our side in that case. If it's possible to target the group that specifically received the defective version and if that group is small, the chances are much less likely of course.Originally Posted by Reactor
Unlikely, but not impossible. I know.. I'm being a little paranoid perhaps, but I'd rather err on the right side of the spam law!Originally Posted by Reactor