Most of us have heard the word "Spam," for it is used as a noun or verb; as well as a specific trademarked food, found in a can. Many of us also know it because we have been spammed before. When finding Spam within our blog comments or when checking emails throughout the day, we often find ourselves asking the questions, what does "Spam" really mean? And why does it exist? If you are promoting a website or blog, could you be considered a "Spammer? Lets delve into these questions to find out the reasons for spam and how not to become what we all dread, "A Spammer."
What Is Spam? In general, Spam is defined by the Online Webster Dictionary to be, "unsolicited usually commercial e-mail sent to a large number of addresses." Spam occurs in large amounts daily and continues growing even as you read this post. The people who send these unsolicited emails, links, etc. are known as "Spammers." Spammers will use websites, customer lists, chat rooms, etc. to find email addresses and other information of its users, to then "spam." At one time, spam was mostly sent via email, but as the internet has grown, as well as our knowledge in using it, spam has evolved right along with us. Social networks, blogs, etc. are also places where spammers leave unsolicited links. This is also known as "Spamming." Spammers use their websites to spam yours, by adding their links to your pages and once they have done it, they will more than likely be back to do it again.
The Spam Family There are many forms of spam and here is a list of ones you may already know:
Spamvertised Sites When a person adds a link to your emails, blogs, and so on, that promotes a website that is advertising a specific "spam topic," it is called a "Spamvertised Site." Example: When clicking on a Spam link it takes you to a website that has Weight-loss Ads, etc.
Phishing When a person uses a fake website to encourage it's users to enter in personal information in order to scam them, it is called "Phishing." Ex: Pretending to be a Bank in order to get your banking information. Another type, is called, "Spear-phishing." This is known as a way to target specific users for the purpose of scamming, by using known information about them. Ex: Pretending to be their place of employment, etc.
419 Scams (a.k.a - Nigerian "419" scam) This is spam that is typically sent by an individual from a developing country; to try and get people to pay money, also known as "Advance-fee fraud." The individual is hoping to trick the person in which they are trying to extract money from, into believing they will receive financial gain by sending a small lump sum of money in advance. Ex: They are needing your help to access millions of dollars and need money from you in order for the deal to proceed. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist. The spammer will then take your money and may also make you a victim of identity theft. As you can see after reading this, most spam is used to be harmful, but some businesses are spamming their potential customers, in trying to promote their websites, and may not even know it. If you are a business owner, you certainly would not want your business to be looked at as one who is trying to potentially harm their customers. Lets identify if your business is using the proper promotional tools or are using spam as a way to promote your website.
Promotional Spam This type of spam is created by those who are trying to promote their websites, ideas, products, and/or businesses. These businesses place unsolicited links on your website or blog, in helping to create a higher SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for their site. These spammers are typically not trying to harm you, but are trying to get their URL's recognized by search engines. It at times, can be hard to tell the difference between those who want to scam you and those who are using spam as a promotional tool.
Why Does Spam Exist? Lets just say that every minute 5000 of spam links are sent out, at least one person buys $1 worth. Then if 1million spam links were sent out, the spammer would then $1.66 a minute which makes approx. $100 an hour . Now Besides the obvious reasons as to why spam exists, there are many other reasons you see spam appear on your websites or blogs. Most spammers are trying to find a way to retrieve your personal information for scamming reasons, but there is a another kind of spam, where businesses are using your websites to promote their products, ideas, and so on. Are you one of them?
When a business places their website's link to your blog, etc. (by adding their URL to the comments box), they are creating a "back link." They do this because it helps create a higher SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for their site. When back links are created, it also helps in recognizing the importance of that site by search engines, who are measuring their website's popularity (Ex: Page Rank.) Why YOUR Business Should Not Use Spamming Techniques As A Promotional Tool: Although there are many good reasons in adding your links to other websites, there are also many bad ones. As a business, you are always trying to find ways to promote your work, but spamming can give you a bad name. Your business may become blacklisted and known for it's spamming ways, which can get your website's URL blocked from many useful places online. This may also cause customers to ignore your site because of its spamming reputation. Even though it is important for your business to create back links, finding promotional tools, other than spamming, can give your business the good reputation you hope it to have.
10 Ways For Businesses To Promote Without Spamming: Lets just say with 4,000 spam links sent out every minute and only $1 is bought; then with 120,000 spam links sent out in a half an hour, it would make $30. Which calculates to be $525,948 a year. Here are 10 ways to help promote your website by not spamming others and in creating those back links to help your business grow. (Be sure to always read the Terms Of Service (TOS) whenever you use another site to post your links.)
1. Contact and ask the blog or website owner if you can trade links with them. Be sure to add their link to your site once you get your link added to theirs. This is also known as a "Link Exchange."
2. Don't be afraid of networking with others and in negotiating a way to help promote each others sites.
3. Use social bookmarking to create quality back links. Make sure your website or blog is filled with great content and then submit your site's link to numerous social bookmarking sites.
4. Do not repeatedly add your website's URL to sites, blogs, etc. This will certainly make you and your business look like a spammer.
5. Give Testimonials to authoritative sites and include your websites link. Always make sure your comment is relevant to the topic and never just leave your link.
6. Write articles that include your websites link in them (Don't over do it though, for then all links may be removed from the article) and then submit your articles to several different Article Directories.
7. Do Guest Posting for blogs. Write posts for other blogs and in the Author portion of the post be sure to include your name and a link back to your website.
8. Hold a contest on your website and/or blog. It tends to be shared by others which creates back links to your page.
9. Create Press Releases that talk about a certain promotion or news about your site. This will also help in creating back links if you make sure to include links to your site with in the Press Release.
10. Post to Forums. Most forums now have a way to link your signature up to a URL. Use your website URL to create the back link.
Not only is it important to know if you're getting spammed, but it is also important to know if you are the spammer. Many people do not trust those who are spamming their sites, even if it is a business just trying to promote their work. It is looked upon poorly by many because it is annoying, distasteful, and potentially harmful. Be sure you are NOT one of them. Use these 10 ways to get your business' Page Rank and SEO higher without loosing credibility, respect, and potential customers along the way.