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  • April 26, 2007

AM Inbox: THE EDGE OF SPAMMY

RetailEmail.Blogspot monitors the email marketing campaigns of more than 100 of the top online retailers. Here are highlights from our inbox this morning:

Overstock, 4/25 — FACTORY CLOSEOUT
The subject line on this email raised a red flag with Madeline Hubbard, email marketing specialist at MindComet, especially after Overstock sent out an April 23 email with the subject line “CLEARANCE.” She emailed me calling the subject lines “bizarre” and out of character for Overstock and “on the edge of Spammy” because of the all-caps shouting, and asked what I thought. Unfortunately, these kinds of subject lines aren’t unusual for Overstock. Here are some other subject lines that they’ve run in the past six months or so:


FREE SHIPPING
RED HOT SALE
RED HOT DEALS
75% OFF SALE
HALF-OFF SALE
WAREHOUSE CLEARANCE
HOME SALE
WINTER LIQUIDATION
EXCLUSIVE COUPON
HUGE PRICE CUTS
CLOSEOUT
WE'RE CUT PRICES
WEEKEND FREE SHIPPING
THANK YOU - 10% COUPON
LAST DAY - FREE SHIPPING
CLEARANCE EVENT - Don't Miss Out
WEEKEND BARGAINS - Coupon Inside


And a few of them were used more than once during that period. They are definitely too spammy for my tastes, and some of the occasional delivery delays that I’ve experiences with their emails may be due to getting tied up in spam filters.

Because of my journalism background, I’m also a big believer in using the space that you have. In most email clients you have from 50 to 60 characters to play with in the subject line. Using just 10 or even 20 of them just seems wasteful to me. All that said, Overstock does run plenty of longer, more descriptive subject lines with a more restrained use of capitals.

In this email, Overstock also introduces its new Bridal Jewelry store.

SUBJECTIVITY SCANNER:
Macy’s, 4/25 — What's cooking? Exciting Culinary Council events in your area! [promoting in-store cooking events]
Musician’s Friend, 4/25 — Musician's Friend: Scratch And Dent Sale Starts Today
FTD, 4/25 — Order Early For Mom and Save
1-800-Flowers.com, 4/25 — They blow out the candles, and you Save 10%! [promoting Birthday Flower Cake]
Brookstone, 4/25 — Positively perfect portable lounge chair--for pool or beach!
Neiman Marcus, 4/25 — Designer swimsuits & accessories + FREE SHIPPING
Sharper Image, 4/25 — Free Shipping on all Air Purifiers!
Diamond.com, 4/25 — Monthly Special Sale! 68% OFF RETAIL
Foot Locker, 4/25 — 48-Hour Sale--10% OFF almost everything

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