How To Totally Screw Up An Email Campaign

by Donna Fontenot November 24th, 2007 

Want an example of how to totally screw up an email campaign? Just tick off the people you send the email to by misidentifying them as someone else, and then make them laugh because your offer is ridiculous anyway. Check out this email (with URLs changed because I don't want anyone getting any kind of credit for this, and with bolded sections to highlight the ridiculousness, or to add my own comments):
Hello (this was left blank, so the automated software obviously didn't have a name),

We are proud to let you know with great pleasure that your company
www25.zzzzzzzzzzzz.zzz/~seoorg/newsletter (not my site, btw) has been selected as a "Certified SEO Company". (Thanks, but um, you can't certify me.) Being SEO certified displays your credibility and contribution in the field of search engine optimization. (Oh, really?)

The SEO certification is awarded free of cost to selected internet
marketing companies based on the site quality and level of SEO services. In
the past, we have promoted and appreciated companies having excellent
search engine optimization skills.

To activate and manage your profile login to:
Username: geekGeasdsdylRfbrr31
Password: 8KsdfONVsdfsdfzZvrv25

(Um, no thanks, I don't think so.)

Please login to the above account and activate your profile. This will help
you display "Certified SEO Company" logo on your website. Displaying the
logo on your website assures your clients that you truly understand Search
Engine Optimization and use it to the best of your abilities. (Sorry, but your logo would be misleading clients, not assuring them of my knowledge).

If you are unable to login then please email us at


This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential to the
intended recipient and may be privileged. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify the sender immediately. (No, I'd rather blog about it.) Whilst we have used anti-virus software to alert us to the presence of computer viruses, we cannot guarantee that this email and any files transmitted with it are free from them.


So, unless you are absolutely positive that you aren't going to misidentify someone, don't personalize your emails. Oh, and then of course, it would be nice if what you were offering wasn't misleading as well. Just a little tip for ya there. 😉

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11 Responses to “How To Totally Screw Up An Email Campaign”

  1. 5ubliminal says:

    Many would kill to get a new 'Certified by DumbA$$.com' logo on their site, no matter where it comes from. They need those little stupid images to enforce their inexistent authority.
    I think they will get a bunch of homepage links in return.

    Nevertheless I have to appreciate originality and intelligence. I've never seen such spam! Good linkbait.


  2. Jim Boykin says:

    got that one too. glad you blogged about it!

  3. Luis Neng says:

    I received one that is even better, the sender just sent the e-mail to multiples address on the "to:" field.
    The result, my e-mail address was published to another hundred of peoples that I don't know and I also had access to another hundred e-mails to do some serious spamming! (not)

  4. My inbox is always jammed full of spam, I just switched to Spamfighter for Outlook which helps a lot, but just the sheer amounts are staggering. I've always been baffled by spammers though you'd think they would be smart enough to have email names and emails that look vaguely similar. They just make it too easy to filter :)

  5. g1smd says:

    I have helped a large number of people reduce their spam from more than a thousand per day to under a hundred per week.

    The key was to remove their email address from the web so that it was no longer able to be found by the spammers.

    Contact forms with CAPTCHA, and email addresses protected using a JavaScript function have kept them out of the spotlight.

  6. 5ubliminal says:

    g1smd … do you do affiliate marketing in dirty areas such as pills? If you go you will know that 99% of pill affiliate programmes have their databases broken in quite often and/or sell the emails and personal details to spammers.

    So just removing your email won't help. Sometimes you have to hand your email over (whether you like it or not) to others and the spam comes in multiples of 1000s / day.

    Even individual idiots sell emails from anyone they can so … ! You can't protect from spam unless you don't use email or don't read it :)

  7. g1smd says:

    … or you can use a separate throwaway email address to subscribe to sites that might start spamming you.

    Most people that I know have upwards of five email addresses, each purposed for different things.

  8. 5ubliminal says:

    I signup with a different email account (self-hosted not gmal cr4p) to every site i deal with. At least I know who the idiots selling emails are.

    And Outlook does a pretty good job at stopping spam … and seems to hate this site. Had to white list it.

  9. corey says:

    donna, your comments made me laugh. i probably would have signed up for the badge so i could pull out a code fingerprint that would be found on all pages that are using the image, searched to find all those sites, and THEN blogged. but i'm evil.

  10. DazzlinDonna says:

    oooh, that IS evil. 😀

  11. 5ubliminal says:

    @corey: Don't lie! You just want to use the image on your site to enforce your authority but provide no linkback to those who certified you.

    I'm evil :)