In his latest column on ClickZ, Stefan Pollard says:
"Your recipient's inbox is the hottest party in town. You have a legitimate invitation to be there, and the spammers figure they can crash the party by looking like you. Make sure your hosts recognize you so you don't get stuck on the wrong side of the door with the undesirables."
I like the way he uses this analogy to make this point:
"Spammers and their malicious counterparts, who want to infect your computer or steal your identity, work just as hard as you, and probably harder, to write action-inviting subject lines.
Many use clever social engineering to get e-mail readers to open and click by taking advantage of major holidays, newsworthy events, or common opening lines a friend, relative, or coworker would send. This time of year, of course, anything relating to Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year, holidays, parties, and the like is fair game.
Your problem is you have a legitimate reason to use holiday themes in your e-mail messages. The challenge is walking the fine line between writing clever holiday-themed subject lines and not looking like a spammer or malicious e-mailer while you're doing it.
The answer is to monitor spam outbreaks to avoid using clever holiday-themed subject lines that can make your message look like spam."
Stefan suggests to try the following:
- Monitor your spam folders. That's your front-row seat to watch the spammer party-crashers as they jostle for an entry to the inbox. Watch both your work and personal e-mail folders, and enlist others in the watch. If you detect a theme that looks similar to the brilliant subject line your boss or client just OK'ed for the next campaign, swallow your pride and rewrite it.
- Check the Internet news portals. Look out for information on new virus attacks. Yahoo News's technology section often has timely alerts that include not only the virus-related information but often also the actual subject lines.
- Review expert blogs. Monitor reports about the latest spam, phishing, and virus e-mail: The Internet Patrol / McAfee.