I'm no spammer, says email marketer

Her clients might have sent out six million emails in the past year, but Lesley Pope denies she is a spammer.

Pope, who was appointed chief executive of the two-year-old email marketer MessageMedia last month, says the NZ Post-owned company believes it is critical for companies to gain permission from customers for their messages. People receiving unwanted spam in their in-boxes will deter them from signing up for advertising messages and they will simply delete spam without looking at it, she says.

Consequently, Pope, who was previously marketing general manager for Industry New Zealand, says MessageMedia refuses to sell its software and services to people who may use it for spamming.

Pope says her firm asks clients about their proposed use of the software and has a no-spam clause in their contracts.

"If you have permission, your customer is looking forward to receiving the email from you. We are definitely not perpetrators of spam."

MessageMedia sent out two million emails in its first year, six million last year. These include messages such as holiday company email newsletters that recipients sign up for and similar publications from major corporates and business organisations.

New Zealand has no government laws concerning spamming, but MessageMedia is a member of the Direct Marketing Association, whose guidelines oppose spamming, says Pope, a former vice-president of the NZ Association of Advertisers and past member of the Advertising Standards Complaints Board.

MessageMedia offers a message deployment engine called Unity Mail and recently launched a publishing tool called Publisher. It works in Word and Excel and allows emails to arrive in three formats - HTML with images, HTML and plain text.

The publishing tool uses a template system so company staff can easily produce the newsletters using a "cut and paste" process.

Current clients include The Warehouse, Air New Zealand, Compaq, Pumpkin Patch, Ezibuy, Fisher & Paykel, NZ Post, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Heritage Hotel Management and Auckland University Short Courses.

Pope sees growth for the medium. It is responsible for just 3% of the total marketing spend in New Zealand but, in the US, firms will spend up to 48% of their marketing on email messages.

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