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July 02, 2014


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Grant Crowell

You're definitely not overreacting, David. To me, any mass e-mailer that starts with "Re:" should be treated as fraud, and handled as such by the FTC or any other regulatory agency.

I recently had my own unfortunate dealing with e-mail spam on LinkedIn. It's when i see it happening on social media platforms through my personal message accounts that I find this is getting really out of control:



I don't think you're overreacting. It's tricky and unprofessional, and PR folks shouldn't want to appear as either of those things.

David Meerman Scott

Grant - Wow! That is quite a story about LinkedIn. I fear that channel will be clogged soon enough if people do what you describe.

Thanks Stacy. Yes, PR people should know better.

Dan Schawbel

This has happened to me several times but I've built up a HUGE tolerance to PR pitches over the last seven years so it doesn't phase me. It automatically goes into the spam folder.

David Meerman Scott

Dan - I also have a tolerance. However because I frequently write about PR, I do scan the many pitches I get. This tactic has exploded recently. I wonder is somebody or some book is saying its okay?!

Stan Dubin

Re: Your Blog Post

David, it used to bother me, but now I have a great spam filter on my Mac that nails over 99% of the spam that comes my way.

David Meerman Scott

Lucky you, Stan!


Re - just another gimmick, sale tatting, etc...all on the same slope as marketers promising you that you will be more X if you believe / buy our product Y. Next year, it will be something else, perhaps emails from Facebook with our friend's name in the subject line. Remember, nothing really is " free" and this includes having an free email account or LinkedIn profile, etc


Sleazy as all get out. There must be an old spammer selling their wares to PR companies now. I find it amazing people also think it's ok to export all their contacts on linkedIn and then add them to their mailing lists.

Roberta Guise

David, if the Re:... isn't from a sender I've had an email conversation with I know it's bullcrap and delete.

It's a tactic that I'm sure many people fall for, because they see the Re:, and instead of reading the words that come after it and checking the sender, they reflexively open the email.

If legit companies do it we should call them out for being disingenuous.

David Meerman Scott

Marc, I agree that nothing is free and when you sign up for a service like Facebook, they extract something from you. (Sigh).

Jim, Yeah - those old spam artists are good at roping people in to their promises of a healthy beach body in just two weeks with no exercise.

Roberta, I am thinking of responding to future emails I get with "RE" in the subject line and including a link to this post. I've also been considering a followup blog post where I name the agencies involved.

Mary Mancera

I'm plagued by SPAM and have used SPAMCop to deal with it. To no avail. For any PR professional to lower themselves to using this type of tactic is just disgusting. You have a right to be miffed.


Completely agree like all the other commenters David.
Afraid to say even your friends at Hubspot are doing it... They use FW: instead of RE:...
Anything which involves 'trickery' is never going to work long term.

Alexandra Nicola

I thought that the paradigm nowadays is to convince people to offer what you need, to make them want to stay in touch with you. That's why they offer you the email for valuable content. Now I agree that you should be smart about it, but this isn't smart it's tricky annoying and invasive.

It's not enough that you send me an email I never wanted but you insult my intelligence through it. The possibility of actually getting confused that is actually an answer, is pretty small.

David Meerman Scott

Seems we are all in agreement on this one!


Hmm, I either haven't got any or I am so good at ignoring such spam that I don't even notice them and automatically delete them.

Chris Kleisath

I am so much in agreement that I have started replying to these RE: type of emails with simply a link to this blog post. It's a quick, simple and effective means of telling them what I think of their tactic.

David Meerman Scott

Hi Chris! I'm doing the same thing myself. Thanks for spreading the word.


John P. Wheeler

You're not overreacting at all David. It's really sad that email marketers are choosing to resort to spammy tactics instead of finding engaging ways to get their message across.

David Meerman Scott

Hi John, Yes, it is sad indeed.

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