Does “Phishing” spell the end of email marketing?

Today we have a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder of Ultimate Lead Systems.

Phishing season

There is something “fishy” going on with my email and I’ll bet you are having the same problem. It’s call “phishing” and every day is phishing season. It spells BIG trouble for email marketers.

I receive nearly a hundred emails each day. Hundreds of other emails get flagged as “spam” going into my “Junk” mail folder. More and more I receive official looking emails (with corporate logos) claiming to be from Facebook, LinkedIn, the USPS, UPS, FedEx, my bank and even the IRS. The problem is they are all fakes and attempts to game access to my computer or obtain personal information from me and from you.

Clicking the links in these emails can spell disaster and providing any personal information can lead to identity theft. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides some excellent advice on how to avoid getting compromised by these fishy and “phishing” emails. Read more here…

On any morning I delete about three quarters of my emails coming from unrecognized senders with suspicious subjects. As our Inboxes are increasingly flooded with spam and now “Phishing” scams, how long will it be before users go with totally private, “permission based” email communications preventing ALL emails from unapproved senders?  Exact Target, Constant Contact, iContact, SilverPop, MyEmma and other email campaign programs already require opt-in and double opt-in permission based email sending, but the law breakers and scammers won’t be stopped.

Personally, I think spam and now “phishing” is on it’s way to ruining email marketing as we now know it except as a very specialized and selective B2B marketing tactic. With email marketing compromised, the latest fad is spam “texting.” With it also comes text message “phishing” along with “vishing” and “smishing.” One would hope the “Do Not Call” lists would help prevent this. But good luck with that. The Opt-In email rules and email “black-lists” didn’t stop spammers. Read more on text message “phishing”. But I am “wishing”!

LinkedIn is a good examples of what private, “permission based” email networks may start to look like. You need to be introduced to someone to make a connection and woe to the person who flagrantly solicits their networked members. Your connections can quickly and easily drop you.Will we start to see more private networking and emailing? My bet is “yes”.

Until then the questions and challenges remain.  How are you protecting yourself, your employees, email server and network from “phishing”? Corporate policies, education and training are the first line of defense. If you are a marketer, are you planning email marketing alternatives? If email marketing is losing its effectiveness, it is probably time to start.

This post originally appeared on the Ultimate Lead blog and is reposted with permission. 

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