So I spoke a little about PR spam in my first official post below, and I hinted how much I agree with the concept of permission marketing.

The key things in permission marketing IMHO, are anticipation and relevance.

If I anticipate a message from a vendor, I will likely spend the time to read it. If it’s relevant, even better, the chances go up that I will read their next email.

So I get a message from a few months back, and was glad I did:


I love Tom Waits, had no idea that there was a new book about him out, but since I have bought Tom Waits stuff from before, I get a nice email message about it, and further I get to save 34%. Sweet!

On the other hand, only a few days later I get this email from Amazon. ca:


Great! I love Harry Potter and as the email states, I have bought other HP books from them in the past, thus, I guess, they have my permission. One problem, I pre-ordered this book several months earlier, not one, not two, but three copies! Directly from Amazon. ca! So while I do appreciate the reminder, it’s completely irrelevant. No big deal though, honest mistake.

But then I get another email from today:


Dear Customer,
As someone who has shopped at, you might like to know that you can find everything you need to get in a festive mood for holiday 2007 at

Trust me, I have never bought a FESTIVE CD, book, or video from But worst, they clearly know this.

First of all where’s the relevance?

Dear customer. Right there and then I know this is SPAM! Where’s my name?

And because I am a customer, “I might like to know that I can find everything I need to get in the festive mood for 2007?”

Actually, I wouldn’t like to know. Further, I don’t need a book, CD, or video from to get me in the festive mood!

No relevance in this email whatsoever for me personally.

Lesson for Marketers: If you use phrases like, ” you might like to know” or “we thought you may be interested”…it better precede with something relevant. i.e. since you bought Tom Waits Real Gone a few months back, you might like to know that there is a book about Tom available now. NOT, since you bought here before, we are going to continue to spam you hoping something is interesting so you will buy something else from us.

So I looked through my inbox finding all the messages. All relevant. They contact me to let me know what’s new IF I previously bought something from that author or artist. Every message in my email inbox from is a relevant message based on a prior purchase. Up to this point, they have avoided the temptation to SPAM me eventhough they could with emails like, “If you like Tom Waits, you might like this!” Nope…didn’t do it. Bravo Good on ya! Checked my inbox, I have over 10 times the amount of email from them than I do from And you know what? Not one relevant message based on a prior purchase. Oh wait, they did kindly recommend Harry Potter 7…too bad I pre-ordered it 3 times several months before from them. Since I bought 3 copies, I might like a 4th? The ironic thing is that I have only bought a few things via and since I am Canadian, the majority of my purchases have been through and I buy a lot of books and CDs from them. Oh well, time to shop elsewhere., you have some work to do and you don’t have to look very far to see where to start.

Seth shares his spam story today.