Autoresponders are great for automation, but caution is also necessary with autoresponders. A few words of caution before you use an autoresponder. In the age of spam, sending email to anyone whom you don’t actually know involves a risk.
There is always the potential for people to submit other people’s email addresses (email lists are easy to collect if you know where to look). When those people receive your message, they could accuse you of distributing spam. After all, as far as they are concerned they did not request this information. An autoresponder doesn’t know whether the person attached to the email address it receives actually wants the materials or not; they are programmed to send information to any email address they receive.
It is important to weigh the risk against the benefits of an autoresponder. Basic autoresponders that simply relay information such as a notification that you will be away from your office are generally okay; no one will likely perceive this as spam. However, the kind of responder that sends out specific information as if the recipient has requested it could involve some risk, so tread carefully. A common practice for users of autoresponders is to place disclaimer of sorts at the beginning of the automated message.
This disclaimer should explain why the person is receiving the message (something like, “You are receiving this message because you subscribed to email@example.com). Further, it’s a good idea to offer the recipient a away out, a way to stop receiving the messages. To do this, provide a second email address to which they can send a message indicated that they wish to “unsubscribe” to the information. That way, you have recourse to say that you are continuing to send the information because they did not say they didn’t want to receive it.
Again, an autoresponder is necessary for online business, just be sure to exercise “autoresponder caution”
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