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OPLIN 4Cast #327: Sending bacn

Posted in 4cast

baconThis week, we had to make a choice. Should we do a sagacious blog post about computing based on quantum mechanics? Or should we write about bacn? Guess which one we chose. But don’t be misled into thinking we’re going to blog about food (finally!) and can’t spell. Bacn is the name that was coined in 2007 for the stuff in email inboxes that’s halfway between spam (“fake ham”) and personal email (“real ham”), and is now so prevalent as to be a nuisance. It’s email people requested once upon a time, for one reason or another, that has now become annoying. If your library sends out newsletters by email – as we send the 4cast to some librarians – you might need to be careful about becoming a nuisance and ending up in the “junk” folder.

  • ‘Graymail’: How it will affect your email program (ClickZ/Mike Hotz) “Unlike spam, a ‘bacn’ email is one recipients actually requested, such as Facebook and Twitter notifications, Google News updates, and Groupon daily deals. However, those recipients no longer read those emails regularly. Maybe they don’t think the content is interesting, or they no longer use the products or services advertised, or the sending frequency is too high.”
  • Why your inbox fills with bacn instead of spam (BBC News/Mark Ward) “The tools used to stop spam get in the way of stopping these messages precisely because they occupy that hard-to-define space between real junk and real messages. On the one hand, they are legitimate because people have signed up to receive them, they come from reputable web domains and have the same syntax as real messages. However, they are also slightly spammy because they arrive so regularly and some of their language resembles the hyperbole employed by most junk mail.”
  • Bacn is the new spam (Glider Blog/Herwig Konings) “For every $1 invested in email marketing, $40 in sales are returned. That is double the return on search or display ads, and triple the return of social […]. This golden goose tactic of email marketing for retailers is now turning into an annoyance for consumers. What is a person to do when they want to stay in touch with multiple retailers and commercial email senders? Many are saying simply unsubscribe and your inbox will be clutter free! I respectfully disagree. Commercial senders are still important to consumers and they still want to see these messages when they have time.”
  • It’s a thin line between spam and bacn (Inbound Evangelist/Dan Moyle) “Now, don’t be afraid to email the people in your database often. Research shows that people don’t unsubscribe until they’re getting email in the ridiculous range. I’m talking once a day if all they want is a newsletter, or every hour when they’re expecting a daily email. Make sure you set the expectations and follow them. If you say you’ll email weekly, don’t switch to daily.”

Infographic fact:
Yes, there is an infographic about bacn, which points out that in 2010 (the most recent statistics we could find), over 27 billion bacn emails were sent each day.