Hold the spam

It’s a popular urban legend that the term ”spam” for unsolicited or junk e-mail was coined in the mid-1980s by a computer techie who was a fan of the British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

In one of its famous skits, a group of Vikings who are insatiable fans of Spam, the luncheon meat from the Hormel Foods Corp., starts chanting ”Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam” whenever anyone utters the word.

Legend aside, the term was first used to describe obtrusive mass postings on Internet newsgroup listings. Usually, such messages were advertisements or chain letters. When e-mail became free and widespread, unsolicited advertisements that landed in people’s e-mail boxes were also dubbed spam.

Unsolicited ads are universally reviled by everyone who has seen them fill up their e-mail box. Joe Palko knows the rancor raised by spam. That’s why his company, fancEmail.com Ltd., was designed as an opt-in e-mail marketing and list management company and steered clear of the unsolicited mass e-mail delivery business.

Opt-in means I have your consent one way or another,” Palko explains. ”Some people just collect business cards at meetings and upload the names that way. But in all cases, we require positive consent. We’re not in the spam business. If we were, we would just be shut down. It wouldn’t work.”

Palko says opt-in e-mail offers numerous benefits and is fast replacing postal mail or snail mail as a marketing tool. Here’s why.


Companies like Palko’s have e-mail systems and servers designed for mass delivery, which saves you valuable time and your computer network a lot of traffic.

”Before that list is even done being sent out, the first people are already reading it,” Palko says. ”It’s pretty amazing vs. a direct mail piece, where your response is extended out over weeks to months. With e-mail, your response is done within a week or so.”

Better response

With opt-in e-mail marketing, expect anywhere from a 10 percent to 30 percent response rate. That’s compared to the 1 percent to 2 percent — perhaps, if you’re lucky, as high as 5 percent — rate you typically receive with a snail mail campaign, Palko says.

”In some cases, we’ve seen just phenomenal response within just a couple hours of sending,” Palko says. ”One of our clients had a 100 percent read rate.”

With e-mail, you can track whether customers read the message and if they click to your Web site to learn more about the company or a special offer. Results of the e-mail message campaign are easier to quantify as opposed to direct postal mail, which can range from tedious to impossible in tracking the readership rate.

”It’s really fascinating data for the marketer because it closes the loop,” Palko says.


Paper can not only be a waste, it’s expensive. With opt-in e-mail marketing, there’s no printing, and companies usually only charge pennies by the address. There are also no postage or handling costs with opt-in e-mail, which makes it a cost-efficient alternative for large- or small-scale marketing campaigns.

How to reach: fancEmail.com Ltd., (440) 572-2742

fancEmail.com website