Email Marketing Etiquette – Why You Should Never Use an Anonymous Email Address in Your Reply-To

June 28, 2012 by  Filed under: Email 

Emails have become an important and convenient new way of communication since the 1990s. A message can be sent instantaneously to someone living thousands of miles away, but without having to worry about the sometimes prohibitive cost of a phone call. The positive aspects of email as a form of communication outweigh the negatives, but it is a form of communication that is open to abuse.

How an Anonymous Email Reply Can Be Unnerving

Probably the most hated form of abusing the benefits email offers surfaces in the shape of spam. The fact that the same message can be sent to many people simultaneously is an opportunity too good to miss to the committed spammer. The experienced internet user will normally spot spam just from the subject alone, and will delete the email without even opening it. The less experienced user will sometimes be taken in.

Another way to determine that an email may be spam is to check to see who the email is from. If it’s a name that you don’t recognise, and the subject of the email seems a bit vague, then the possibilities increase that it is spam. Some email users may receive an anonymous email, and think that it may be from a friend who is just being, in their eyes, amusing. This can be a trap an email user will sometimes fall into and, consequently, open the email.

Sending an anonymous email when replying to someone’s email is bad etiquette for several reasons. The recipient will wonder why the email has been replied to anonymously and often be annoyed that there is no obvious person to reply to. An anonymous reply can also be unnerving. This is certainly true when it happens for the first time. Even if there was no intention to disturb the recipient that will still often be the case. An anonymous email reply, if abusive, will also seem cowardly.

People who receive an anonymous reply will also start to worry about security threats to their computer. It’s not unreasonable to think that an anonymous email reply is the result of your email address being hijacked from an unscrupulous individual or company. An email user will then begin to worry about whether they are at risk from viruses. Attachments from an anonymous source are more likely to contain a virus than the email itself.

The Bad Reputation of the Anonymous Email

Even in the sometimes brisk and succinct world of email, people like to be reassured that an email is sent by a person with good intentions. An anonymous email reply doesn’t really do that. Even some internet criminals realise this, of course. Phishers will try and glean personal information through fake internet sites that try and mirror those of established internet companies.

People who send anonymous email replies do risk being lumped together with the more untrustworthy elements of email users. If thinking of replying to an email anonymously, just spare a thought for the recipient, and how you’d feel if you were in their shoes.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Extra Vision, Experts in Email Marketing

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