Being that I still maintain an active license, am still a REALTOR, and pay dues to my MLS, I’m still on the active roster of those groups. This means my information is public to all other members as well.
Unfortunately, the lure of “it’s free to send an email,” tends to over take some agents. They download the emails of all of the other agents in their MLS and fire off their newest, latest, greatest listing in either an html property flyer, or in some cases just a PDF / JPG of their listing sheet.
No SPAM For Me
The key is that in no way did I request to get on this agent’s list. Simply being a member of an MLS with a public email address is not a request to receive solicitations. Without following some very specific rules, the message is therefore a violation of the CAN SPAM law and the violator can face hundreds of dollars in fines for each email sent to each person. I’d venture to say that most agents don’t really care about your next listing. They can see it just fine if it matches their clients’ criteria by logging into the MLS, otherwise, they really don’t care. So why send it?
If you use any of the major email vendors, you no doubt have a SPAM protection system within your email. These system look for key factors to decide to let a message through, send to the junk mail folder, or reject the message completely. These systems partner with other systems across the Internet to share information on the people sending unsolicited junk email. They track this based upon the IP address of the machine sending the email (either your computer or an email proxy service like Mailchimp) as well as the actual email address itself. They take in that data and along with looking at the contents of the email make a decision in nano-seconds where that message will go.
But did you know that “Mark as Junk” button in your email program does more than just move the message to another folder? It actually sends that data to these services as well. So the more times a single message is marked as SPAM the more likely it is to not get to future recipients but also to be removed from an Inbox into the junk folder even for messages that already made it through.
The systems speak together on the fly too. So if one message starts to receive a lot of these reports at Gmail, users on Hotmail / Outlook.com will have the receipt of their messages changed.
Did you know it’s required by the law to also let people know how they can unsubscribe from your list? By not having that option at the bottom of your email on these types of messages if the message is unsolicited, it’s a violation. All unsubscribes must be honored within 10 days. You’re violating the law once one more time too if you don’t list your physical address.
Did you get the list by buying it or by building an email scraper? Email addresses acquired this way are considered harvested and are immediately considered a violation.
If you send the message out from your own email address, chances are it doesn’t have these items contained within it.
Implications of REALTOR SPAM
While the fine is scary of course, it’s not the only thing to worry about. A single message sent out via your email that is marked as spam by too many people means that it’s unlikely your messages will make it through to inboxes in the future. This means that even making the mistake once to send to that agent list, could make your messages undeliverable to your clients for a long time to come. So the next time you consider sending that message out to the list, consider if it’s worth it if you’ll need to change email addresses if too many people don’t like your content.