Credit Crunch increasing Spam consumption?

In recent weeks I have noticed huge quantities of ‘promotional’ spam flooding my inbox from small to medium-sized business enterprises advertising their services and events.

This got me thinking – as marketing budgets are slashed, and in some unfortunate circumstances jobs are lost – are businesses looking to per force reorient and diversify their marketing avenues to include the Internet, email and social networking sites or is it just a coincidence that has nothing to with the credit crunch?

I think there has been an increase in the number incidents where spammers are taking advantage of not only the tried and tested routes but are now systematically targeting social networks – which to be fair are sitting ducks for a decent hacker. This results in a double whammy of frustrations for me:

  1. That I have to delete the emails from my email box… continually
  2. And, I also have to delete the messages once I log into the social network!

Once again spam is making up more than 90% of all email traffic (April 2009) which is a significant increase compared to February 2009, when the spam email level was at 73.3%.

In previous blog posts I have referred to the environmental cost of spam but what could these new and subversive approaches to viral marketing mean for the reputations of these companies, or those that use electronic marketing means legitimately?

Unfortunately I do not have the answer but I can suggest an anecdotal panacea for dealing with spam emails… A few years ago I worked with a Professor, slightly long in the tooth, who refused to check his email; in fact he did not even check his department’s ’pigeon-hole’ or ‘In-tray’! His approach was “if the information was urgent or important someone will come,  knock on my door and tell me to my face” – only then would he react! At that time I did not condone the approach, in fact I still don’t … but with an inbox overflowing with useless spam he might have had a point there!
 
Matthew Wheeler
Keeper of the Media Zoo
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