Industry Terms for Email List Hygiene Part 1

There are industry terms for email list hygiene that needs to be addressed for the sake of professionalism. Being politically correct has its advantages and disadvantages. However, being politically correct for hygiene is definitely an advantage and it needs to be addressed now. Some of the words are harsh and incorrect and that needs to change. Let’s examine some of these words.


This term “screamers” comes directly from email marketers talking about people (possible victim) who believe they received spam. This term has been around since at least 2003 and doesn’t quite accurately represent the actual term. Over the years, as laws have changed, people either understand the law or they don’t. If a consumer contacts an email marketer and screams at them, it would be safe to say that there is a reason why they are angry. The reason (probably) is that they feel they have received something they did not ask for. The consumer could have mistaken the offense by not remembering signing up to something, but whatever the reason, the term doesn’t truly fit the bill. The word “protestor” makes more sense. The reason is, the victim may not be a victim at all legally, however, they feel that they have been victimized and have every right to protest regardless of what law has been broken, or not. Calling them “screamers” is labeling all people upset at receiving what they perceive as spam as ones who will yell at the plaintiff.


Close to the term screamers, yet sounding less harsh, the term “complainers” again doesn’t paint a politically correct picture. If someone perceives to receive an email from a plaintiff that they feel was not optin or gave permission, they most certainly will complain to someone. Who, you ask? Their local ISP, their upstream, the email service provider or directly to the person who hit the “send” button. This term derives from someone who knows how to get around the red tape and contact the right people to complain to. Complainers most certainly are not your average consumer, rather most likely someone who understands technology and the workings of. This term should fall gain directly to “Protestors”. Reason being is since we do not understand the situation legally, one cannot label someone a complainer without proper evidence of wrong-doing. Not only that, just because someone complained doesn’t mean they are right or you are right.

Spam Fighters

Make no mistake, there are people, groups, companies and organizations who fight unsolicited bulk email. Without these people, email in itself would no longer exist as when a spammer gets a hold of an email, it’s all over for privacy. Fighters are important and they do what is necessary to find and catch spammers. In short, spammers are ones who do not follow the law, rather exploit email addresses. This type of business practice would be considered mob-like mentality and doesn’t follow the order of things. Spam, sending an email to someone who didn’t ask for it, is wrong and should be avoided as a business practice. Because spammers have abused this privilege, fighters have grown more aggressive in their approach. The term spam fighters sounds harmless, but labels a certain type of email marketing. Not only do they fight spammers, they also fight what they feel is spam when the opposite party does not. A better term for these individuals or groups would be “Email Abuse Fighters”.


Click here for Part 2.