Autoresponder Etiquette


Article by: Shelley Lowery

Autoresponders are one of the most widely used promotional tools on the Internet. They're also known as mailbots, automatic email and email on demand. They were derived from the very popular fax on demand and designed to automatically respond to any email message sent to it with an automatic response.

Autoresponder programs vary from autoresponse messages set-up within an email program to a script that runs on a server. This script may run a web-based autoresponder system that utilizes a web page form or it may run with a pop email account on a server. It's programmed to automatically send out a pre-determined message when a message is received to a specified script address or email address.

Not only are autoresponders one of the most widely used promotional tools, but are becoming one of the most widely abused. While using autoresponders will enable you to put a lot of your daily tasks on autopilot, autoresponders can also wreak havoc on innocent individuals who may cross their path.

Autoresponder addresses should NEVER be used when submitting your website to Search Engines, Directories, Free For All sites, or in Classified Ad contact forms. Many of these types of websites use autoresponders to send thank you or welcome messages to their users. When their autoresponder sends a message to your autoresponder, this creates what is known as a loop. Each autoresponder will continue to respond to the other.

When subscribing to an ezine or email discussion group, always use a real email address and NEVER subscribe with an autoresponder address. Subscribing to these types of publications with an autoresponder address will get you immediately unsubscribed. Why? For example; If you're a member of a discussion group and receive many messages each day, your autoresponder will respond to every message it receives. Not only will the list owner receive a mailbox full of complaints, but they will also receive all of your autoresponse messages.

Another problem ezine publishers encounter with autoresponder subscribers is locating the perpetrator. Many times, the "reply to" and "from" address of an autoresponse message aren't the same as the address they subscribed under. It takes a great deal of time and effort to track the address, which is time that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Another unethical use of autoresponders is autoresponders. Let me explain... There are many Internet Marketers now using unethical techniques to subscribe innocent individuals to their junk mailing lists. They will send a message to an autoresponder address using their subscription address. When the autoresponder answers the message, the "from" address on the autoresponder will be instantly subscribed. This technique is not only unethical, but also unprofessional.

Autoresponders can be a wonderful tool for Internet Marketers and can save you hours of valuable time. However, if not used in a professional manner, can wreak havoc on the Internet community. Don't be tempted to tarnish your professional reputation by indulging in the abuse of our autoresponder system. It's just not worth the price.


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Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web Source - Your Guide to Professional Website Design and Development. Join The Syndicator, our new, free article syndication program and display complete articles w/photographs on your website that are automatically updated each week.

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